Feds close pot store, saying it's for-profit

November 02, 2006

K. Kaufmann, The Desert Sun

PALM SPRINGS - Charges that Palm Springs Caregivers has violated California law by selling medical marijuana for profit has closed down the dispensary for the second time in a month.

Agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and officers from the Palm Springs Police Department served a search warrant on the dispensary, at 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, about 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

A similar search-and-seize raid closed the dispensary on Oct. 4.

No arrests were made Thursday, but the agents seized a "large quantity of marijuana and marijuana edibles," according to Special Agent Sarah Pullen, a DEA spokeswoman.

"I'm frustrated," said Jeff Brown of Palm Springs, a medical marijuana patient with a state-issued ID card who arrived at the dispensary later in the morning, only to find it blocked off with yellow police tape.

California's 10-year-old medical marijuana law allows patients with doctors' recommendations to grow and use the drug but not to sell it for profit. Federal law bans any use, cultivation or sale of marijuana.

The dispensary's troubles began in September when Joshua Aleck of Valencia, believed to be a relative of the dispensary's owner, allegedly left a bag with medical marijuana-laced edibles as a tip for an employee at The Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs.

That incident triggered the Oct. 4 raid. The edibles seized then, along with advertisements for some of the dispensary's products and "best sellers," were a factor in today's search-and-seize raid, Pullen said.

She said the investigation is continuing.

Efforts to contact Palm Springs Caregivers on Thursday were unsuccessful.

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