Officials Raid Palm Springs Pot Dispensary, Again

November 02, 2006

, KCAL CBS TV

Drug enforcement officials executed another search warrant at Palm Springs' only medical marijuana dispensary, seizing "a large quantity" of the drug in plant and edible form. Agents with the Palm Springs Narcotics Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Adminstration served a warrant Thursday at Palm Springs Caregivers at 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

"This search warrant was the result of an investigation into the illegal sale and distribution of marijuana by PSCG," said Sgt. Mitch Spike of the Palm Springs Police Department.

"PSCG is alleged to be operating as a storefront marijuana business, selling marijuana for profit in violation of California law," Spike said.

Palm Springs Carefivers was first raided Oct. 4 shortly after Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask declared all storefront pot sales were illegal under federal law, despite any state laws that permit the drug's sale for medicinal use.

Agents seized "a substantial amount of marijuana and products containing marijuana, (including) liquid and edible items labeled with names such as "Cronic Crunch," "Cronic Cocktails," "Pot Rockets," and "Dj's Kushbar," as well as advertisements for various marijuana products and "best sellers," Spike said.

An investigation into the dispensary was launched in September after Joshua Aleck, a relative of the dispensary's owners, allegedly left a bag of weed as a tip for a Spa Hotel Casino employee.

Palm Springs' city attorney, Doug Holland, determined after reviewing Trask's policy paper, that the city could be in legal jeopardy, if it drafted an ordinance allowing storefront sales of cannabis, even to patrons who can prove a medicinal need.

Several members of the Palm Springs Medical Marijuana Task Force had complained during a September meeting that the dispensary was strewn with electrical wires and posed a safety hazard.

Lanny Swerdlow, chairman of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, previously spoke out against what he has termed "overreaching and punitive" regulation of medical marijuana usage in Riverside County.

Swerdlow, an advocate of growing and selling medical marijuana in
household cooperatives, drew rebukes from audience members at last month's Palm Springs Medical Marijuana Task Force meeting when he proclaimed he wasn't sorry the dispensary had been raided.

"I want to see patients get their medicine safely and affordably," he said. "Dispensaries are not affordable. They are expensive."

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