No action taken against owner of raided marijuana dispensary in morning hearing

December 03, 2006

K Kaufmann and Marie McCain, Desert Sun (CA)

No action was taken in a preliminary hearing against Stacy Hochanadel, 30, at the Larson Justice Center this morning. As previously reported on thedesertsun.com, the owner of CannaHelp, a medical marijuana dispensary in Palm Desert, Hochanadel was arrested last Februrary on a felony charge of possession of concentrated cannabis and a misdemeanor weapons charge, according to court records.

But the case was continued till Jan. 16, Hochanadel said in a phone interview following the hearing.

Today's hearing was unrelated to last Friday's raid at CannaHelp, located at 73-350 El Paseo. At that time, investigators with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Special Investigation Unit seized computers and medical marijuana as part of an investigation into whether the dispensary was selling pot for profit.

No arrests were made and Hochanadel was questioned by investigators. He has denied any wrongdoing.

At the time of the raid, Hochanadel described his talk with police as "professional." He said investigators wanted to know how his business worked.

Allegations of for profit sales at medical marijuana dispensaries in the Coachella Valley culminated with the multiple raids of a dispensary in Palm Springs, Palm Springs Caregivers, on Palm Canyon Drive.

There were allegations that an employee left items from the dispensary as a tip for a worker at the Spa Resort & Casino.

Caregivers was raided at least twice. The dispensary closed following the second raid, on Nov. 2, and has yet to reopen.

Hochanadel has said that CannaHelp remains open.

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