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Crackdown on Local Marijuana Affected By Hazy Laws

State law protects it, federal law prohibits it, but the status of marijuana in California lacks clarity.

Glendora Healing Clinic is a nondescript building next to a motorcycle shop and on W. Arrow Highway.

There is no other signage except for the store's name on the window.

A note on the door asks customers to knock first before entering. Dark curtains are drawn tightly, yet a little leaf of a green plant peeks through the side of the curtains.

It has only been open a month, but the business seems to have already built a solid clientele – at least among a certain demographic.

Glendora Healing Clinic is a medical marijuana dispensary, which, according to Weedmaps.com, calls itself a “proud member of proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act 1996.”

The proposition was intended to allow patients suffering from terminal illnesses and extreme pain physical relief through marijuana use.

But the two healthy-looking young men who slipped quickly out of Glendora Healing Clinic Thursday afternoon hardly look like progressed-staged cancer or AIDS patients.

One boldly wore a T-shirt with a giant marijuana leaf on his back.

But under state law, they have committed no crime.

“Medical marijuana is legal in California,” said Glendora Police Cpt. Tim Staab. “It’s just illegal federally.”

Mirroring federal law, Glendora has taken a no tolerance approach to marijuana. However, the conflict between state and federal law is making enforcement on marijuana difficult, said Staab.

“You have to be pretty stupid to get arrested for having marijuana in your possession,” he said. Gaining access to marijuana legally is as simple as paying $120 for a physician recommendation, and purchasing weed at the nearest dispensary.

To be cleared for medical marijuana use, a physician who will recommend marijuana for ailments such as a sore knee, depression or insomnia is all a person needs.

And there are plenty of physicians in the area who are willing write the recommendations.

“It’s a very profitable business for any physician,” said Staab. One physician, on W. Route 66, is notorious for writing marijuana recommendations for “minor” ailments.

While Staab said he personally understands the benefits of marijuana use for terminally or seriously ill patients,  he pins the number of card-carrying marijuana users with legitimate illnesses at 2 percent.

Under state law, there are no age limits for receiving a marijuana recommendation, although minors will need parent approval for one – a prospect that worries local educators.

Teachers from asked Staab during a recent at if the community could pressure local physicians from doling out marijuana prescriptions to non-terminal patients. The answer was no – under the ambiguous text of Proposition 215, physician recommendations are protected, regardless how questionable their patients’ ailments are.

For medical marijuana dispensaries, setting up shop in Glendora or any other city is not that difficult if they register under some other business such as horticulture.

Glendora Healing Clinic is not the only medical marijuana dispensary to have opened in the city. Two others –  one on Foothill Blvd and the other behind –were open for one month before law enforcement shuttered the businesses.

In 2004, SB 420 authorized medical marijuana dispensaries to sell marijuana on a non-profit basis to their customers.

But many dispensaries fail to adhere to the non-profit aspect of the law.

One Glendora dispensary earned $800,000 in cash receipts in its one month of business before law enforcement closed its doors.

While state law protects medical marijuana use, federal law enforcement has vowed in recent months to crack down on marijuana dispensaries, putting pressure on landlords to stop sales of the drug or face seizure of their property.

Federal law enforcement continue to monitor marijuana dispensaries, including the Glendora Healing Clinic.

“Obama says, ‘Yes.’ The conservatives  say, ‘No.’ So they get together and huddle and they settle on no,” William G. Panzer, an Oakland lawyer who helped write the state’s medical marijuana proposition, told the Los Angeles Times. “The Obama administration has been incredibly disappointing on this issue.”

The conflicting legislation has been felt on both sides of the marijuana debate.

“For 16 years we’ve been dealing with these vague rules on marijuana and it’s so frustrating,” said Staab. “That’s why we just need legislation. We just need the Supreme Court to make a decision on what our society is going to allow and tolerate.”

Alexander May 05, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Hazel you're a terrible writer and you should apply to Fox News with all your fair and balanced reporting. Your articles are so biased it instantly causes your website to lose any and all credibility.
Hazel Lodevico-To'o May 05, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Well, Alexander, that is your opinion and we are all entitled to it.
Ian May 05, 2012 at 07:15 PM
"But the two healthy-looking young men who slipped quickly out of Glendora Healing Clinic Thursday afternoon hardly look like progressed-staged cancer or AIDS patients." ---- What the heck? Please tell us exactly what a person with progressed-staged (?) cancer or AIDS looks like? "One Glendora dispensary earned $800,000 in cash receipts in its one month of business before law enforcement closed its doors." ----- Really? $800K in one month? Which one was it, and exactly where in Glendora was it? Also, please provide a link to some supporting documentation about that $800K.
Ken May 06, 2012 at 06:12 PM
I have a brother that used an analogy that is applicable to the MJ debates. " I wouldn't treat a dog like that" I have know 3 folks who would have benefited from MJ. Cancer, severe arthritis, shingles were the illnesses. To deny comfort, when even morphine wasn't enough is to treat them worse than a dog. The federal law should be removed.
Bill C. May 06, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I don't have a problem with weed use for the teminally ill, problem is this has become a cash cow for certain doctors and people who simply want to be able to sell weed and have no obligation to make sure the person buying it actually needs it. If people believe that medical marijuana prescriptions are legit for the most part their too high to even comment on the subject. Certain doctors are known by people to be happy to prescribe it even when it's not needed and more than one person, many juveniles in fact, have been arrested for selling weed they've gotten prescribed to them. Pretty sad that folks so often over look those facts. In the mean while the feds will do what they want and local and state officials can't do a thing about it.

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