Marijuana Delivery Services Shuttered Amid Controversy

The City of San Rafael has forced a long-running medical marijuana delivery service to shut down.

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Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that delivery services can be an extremely convenient way for medicinal marijuana patients who are battling severe illness to get their medicine.

The Caregiver Compassion Group, a nonprofit collective, was forced to close after a recent police raid. The service had been located on Woodland Avenue since 2011, but was forced to change location after its lease ended amid pressure from law enforcement.

The city used a 1997 ordinance to close the service. The regulation, one of the oldest local medical marijuana prohibitions in California, bans medical marijuana dispensaries in San Rafael. It was enacted just one year after voters adopted medical pot at the ballot in 1996.

The delivery service was run by a partnership and served about 300 patients, most from Marin County. One of the co-owners stated the two just wanted to serve their members in the open “instead of feeling like we’re criminals.”

San Rafael is just one of many communities in throughout Marin County determined to eradicate medical weed. Federal law enforcement launched a major crackdown in the county three years ago. Just one legally-operating store remains, in Corte Madera. That shop will probably be forced to close its doors for good when its lease expires later this year.

San Rafael police raided the Caregiver Compassion Group last fall, sending an undercover officer to the storefront without a valid card. According to police, the operation was launched in response to some community complaints regarding the collective.

Police said the officer merely asked how to go about buying weed, but owners of the shop share a different story. They state the officer attempted to purchase marijuana with an expired card.

Police claim the officer was told the service would sell to him on-site or would deliver to his home.

The officer was never admitted into the building due to his expired card, but that didn’t matter when other officers arrived and conducted a raid. The owners of the collective revealed that the particular location was never even used to store marijuana and instead was more of a headquarters or operations center.

Nonetheless, the officer claimed he could smell a strong odor of pot coming from the front gates of the delivery service’s office.

It’s common for police to report the smell of marijuana in drug cases, even when it’s later proven the drug was never present. An officer’s observations are subjective, and therefore, generally can’t be proven or disproved.

Unfortunately, juries tend to give greater credence to law enforcement officials than marijuana providers.

The collective’s owner stated that patients did sometimes show up at the office to enroll in the collective and that group counseling services were also provided there.

Delivery services throughout California are facing increasing pressure as local governments crack down on unlicensed dispensaries. Many of these operations have turned to a delivery model, but this has increased the competition for other services and the attention from police who are already looking for any way possible to thwart marijuana business.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

More Blog Entries:

Marijuana DUI an Increasing Threat Amid Legalization Efforts, January 1, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog

Budding Industry for Labs Testing Marijuana, December 27, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Additional Resources:

Medical marijuana delivery service shut down by city of San Rafael, Jan. 13, 2014, By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal