Following the case regarding , the Court of Appeal recently issued an opinion that clarifies the operational parameters of medical marijuana collectives, cooperatives and dispensaries.
The move came following Jeffrey K. Joseph’s conviction, after he established Organica in 2007 - a storefront business that straddled the Culver City/Los Angeles border.
Between 2009 and 2011, undercover law enforcement officers purchased marijuana from Organica in 13 separate transactions and also saw Joseph selling to other customers. He also openly listed the varieties of marijuana for sale and their prices.
After obtaining warrants to search the premises, officers undertook three separate searches. Among them was one by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by the Culver City Police Department, which uncovered 48 kilograms of marijuana, hashish, hash oil, numerous beverages and edible products that contained marijuana, and $16,379 in cash.
Customer records recovered by the DEA document 1,772 Organica “patients,” but only 601 of those patients gave addresses that were in the vicinity of Organica, according to a release by KMTG Legal.
Both Los Angeles and Culver City filed an action against Joseph for violations of the Narcotics Abatement Law, the Public Nuisance Law, and the Unfair Competition Law. The trial court found that Joseph and Organica had no defense under either the Compassion Use Act (“CUA”) or the Medical Marijuana Program Act (“MMPA) and the court granted a permanent injunction and entered judgment against Joseph for civil penalties, attorney fees, investigative costs, and court fees.
According to KMTG, the Fourth District Court of Appeal recently determined that in order for a medical marijuana dispensary to be lawful under the MMPA, the operators must cultivate the marijuana on-site.
The court also clarified that any “reasonable compensation” under Health and Safety Code section 11362.765 to be paid for services by a qualified patient or other person authorized to use marijuana “may only be given to a ‘primary caregiver.’” Joseph, however, did not meet the statutory definition of a primary caregiver because there is no evidence the patrons of Organica designated him as their primary caregiver or that he assumed responsibility for the patrons’ “housing, health, or safety.” Also, Organica was not a licensed health care or residential care facility, clinic or hospice.