New assistant DA sees no change in dispensary policy

June 10, 2007

K. Kaufmann, The Desert Sun

When it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will be standing by the white paper opposing dispensaries issued by former District Attorney Grover Trask last fall. That was the word from William E. Mitchell, the recently appointed assistant district attorney for the desert resort communities, speaking to the Public Safety Committee of the Coachella Valley Associated Governments today.

“While California officials (are) concerned that seriously ill people have access to marijuana, dispensaries were not anticipated or sanctioned under the law,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell has been with the DA’s office since 1984, mostly working on capital and homicide cases, he said.

The DA’s office will continue investigation and prosecution of dispensaries in the area that it considers in violation of the law, Mitchell said.

The office filed felony charges against the owner and two managers of the CannaHelp dispensary in Palm Desert earlier this year. The case is set for a preliminary hearing in July.

Mitchell said small cooperative or collective growing groups of six to eight patients are considered legal under the law.

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