Last Pot Shop Shuts Down

August 06, 2007

, KERO -TV23 (Bakersfield)

The owner of a medicinal marijuana shop in Bakersfield is closing his doors for good, after briefly re-opening Tuesday to help those he said were in need.

Jim McGowen of American Caregivers Collective had voluntarily shut down about one week ago following the raid of another dispensary by DEA agents.

McGowen said he received hundreds of phone calls from customers that prompted him to re-open his shop, but a visit by two men Tuesday afternoon, who McGowen believed were DEA agents in street clothes, has prompted him to shut the doors for good.

"They said they would cut me a break," said McGowen. "But if I was open for business again on Wednesday, I'd be arrested."

People were lined up outside his shop early Tuesday morning, but as of Wednesday will need to travel outside Kern County to find medicinal marijuana.

"A lot of people were suffering, and I just wanted to help," said McGowen. "And now I'm being punished for it."

While medical marijuana is legal in California, it is still against federal law.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood recently decided not to issue or re-issue permits for dispensaries.

The threat of being raided, arrested and charged will have McGowen shuttering his business Wednesday, a situation he can only describe as being unfair.

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