Medical-marijuana dispensary closes doors

December 18, 2006

John Ciani, Daily Independent

Epicurean Delights, a local medical-marijuana dispensary located on West Ridgecrest Boulevard, closed its doors, but the circumstances of the closing are unclear. The business opened its doors in July. The closure comes at a time when the Ridgecrest City Council is considering an ordinance regulating the operation of such facilities.

Some believed the facility was closed as a result of action by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

DEA Public Information Officer Special Agent Casey McEnry said the federal agency did not conduct an enforcement operation at that location.

“We have not been able to identify any federal agency involved with the medical-marijuana dispensary,” said Ridgecrest Police Chief Mike Avery. “Other information I have obtained suggests that DEA was not involved.”



Epicurean Delights Manager Nick Hall said he closed the dispensary pending council action on the proposed ordinance, adding that the DEA was not involved in the closure of the facility.

“Because there is no ordinance and because there’s so many people who don’t want us here right now, I just closed up,” he said. “If the city passes an ordinance, I’ll reopen it. If they don’t, it’s going to stay closed. It’s something the community really needs.”

Hall said if the council passes the ordinance, he will open a dispensary under his own name.



Compliance Officer Don Blakemore also withdrew his support of the medical-marijuana dispensary.

In a letter to the council, he stated that he withdrew his support citing Avery’s concerns about possible impacts on his department.

“I do not wish to oppose him in this matter,” Blakemore stated. “My every effort has been to make this process as easy as possible for everyone. We found an untenable situation, and for a time we did create, I think, a near-ideal model for a dispensary despite the odd architecture and the horrible name.”



He said if the council wishes to go forward with the ordinance, the proposal should contain a one-year sunset clause with a provision for renewal based on council consensus.

Blakemore also recommended an iimmediate-termination-of-permit clause if a violent crime occurs and a suspension-of-permit clause after three police responses for nonviolent crimes or complaints pending the police chief’s review. He also recommended a limit on the amount of product and cash that can be kept on the premises.

The council, at its Dec. 6 meeting, voted to table the proposed ordinance so members can review a 55-page report from the California Police Chiefs Association.



The document from the California Police Chiefs Association talked the secondary effects of medical-marijuana dispensaries in their communities. It included two incidents in Kern County and Bakersfield. The report lists several incidents involving medical-marijuana dispensaries in several cities and counties throughout the state.











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