Vendor's Reefer Sadness

  Vendor's Reefer Sadness

Posted by CN Staff on December 27, 2006 at 05:59:35 PT
By Eric Bailey, Times Staff Writer 
Source: Los Angeles Times  

San Francisco — Kevin Reed launched his medical marijuana business two years ago, armed with big dreams and an Excel spreadsheet.Happy customers at his Green Cross cannabis club were greeted by "bud tenders" and glass jars brimming with high-quality weed at red-tag prices. They hailed the slender, gentle Southerner as a ganja good Samaritan. Though Reed set out to run it like a Walgreens, his tiny storefront shop ended up buzzing with jazzy joie de vivre. Turnover was Starbucks-style: On a good day, $30,000 in business would walk through the black, steel-gated front door.
Today, the 32-year-old cannabis capitalist is looking for a job, his business undone by its own success and unexpected opposition in one of America's most proudly tolerant places. Critics in nearby Victorian homes called Reed a neighborhood nuisance. Although four of five San Francisco voters support medical marijuana, the realities of dispensing the contentious medicine have proved far more controversial.It has been 10 years since California approved Proposition 215 — the Compassionate Use Act — becoming the first state to define marijuana as a medicine. The 389-word act aimed to ensure seriously ill Californians the right to use marijuana. But it said nothing about how they might get the drug — and left ample regulatory ambiguity.Today, about 200,000 Californians have a doctor's permission to use cannabis, which they can obtain through more than 250 dispensaries, delivery services and patient collectives — 120 of them in Los Angeles County alone. Medical marijuana, activists say, has become a $1-billion business.There's been plenty of blowback. Local governments have been grappling with how to regulate storefront sales, still prohibited under federal law despite California's tolerance.Though two dozen cities and seven counties — including Los Angeles, Riverside and Santa Barbara — have approved regulations allowing dispensaries, more than 90 others have passed moratoriums on new suppliers or banned them outright. Earlier this month, a Superior Court judge rejected a challenge to the medical marijuana law by Merced, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Snipped:Complete Article: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author:   Eric Bailey, Times Staff WriterPublished: December 27, 2006 Copyright: 2006 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 01, 2007 at 06:18:35 PT

LAT: DEA Targets Larger Marijuana Providers

The federal agency sees big profits for medical dispensaries as a sign of illegal high-stakes drug dealing. Advocates say the raids are unfair.By Rone Tempest, Times Staff WriterJanuary 1, 2007 HAYWARD, CALIF. — Until federal drug agents arrested him last month, Shon Squier was one of Hayward's most successful and generous young businessmen. Customers lined up outside his downtown storefront, particularly on Mondays, when he offered free samples to the first 50 visitors. Business was so good that Squier, a former construction worker, was able to donate more than $100,000 to local charities. 
But Squier's success as a dynamic medical marijuana entrepreneur was also his downfall. Federal drug agents raided his home and business, arresting Squier and his store manager, freezing bank accounts containing $1.5 million and confiscating several expensive cars, motorcycles and $200,000 in cash.Medical marijuana advocates claim the raid constitutes unfair, selective enforcement by the Drug Enforcement Administration of the estimated 170 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, including 85 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Just down the street, another medical marijuana dispensary, not as big or as flashy as Squier's, was left untouched by the DEA agents in the Dec. 11 raid.The federal drug agency, which does not recognize California laws legalizing the sale of marijuana to patients with doctor's prescriptions, contends the amount of money involved proves that the medical marijuana trade is nothing more than high-stakes drug dealing, complete with the same high-rolling lifestyles. Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #1 posted by doc james on December 29, 2006 at 07:53:37 PT:

going to california soon
Gonna open up a medical marihauna saloon! 30k a day....!! I am certainly a bit leery of those numbers. Thats 2000 grams   15 bucks a gram, which is do-able but it would take a lot of customers. I see why they ran him out of the neighborhood now.
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