Shotgun Incidents Appear To Target Medical Marijuana Industry


Photo: Bill Husa/Chico Enterprise Record
Holes are seen in the window of Cascade Wellness Center in Chico, California, after the medical marijuana dispensary was shot up early Monday morning by unknown gunmen.

‚ÄčThe trouble with alarmist anti-marijuana propaganda is that, sooner or later, it always manifests itself in ugly real-life incidents.

Shotgun vandalism at a medical marijuana dispensary north of Chico, California early Monday morning, and the November 27 shotgun wounding of an employee from another local pot shop, may be connected, according to some in the medicinal cannabis industry.

The operator of Cascade Wellness Center was called to the business just after 2 a.m. on Monday when alarms went off, reports Greg Welter at the Chico Enterprise Record.
The Butte County Sheriff’s Office arrived to find the business heavily damaged by gunfire. Sgt. Derek Bell said a shotgun and a rifle were used by unknown gunmen who were likely standing in the parking lot.

Three large plate glass windows were shattered, the sign for the business was shot up, and the front door was riddle with holes, according to co-owner Zach Hellminiak.
At least two rifle rounds were shot into a chair near a computer that is usually occupied by an employee when the business is open.
The damage prevented the Cascade Wellness Center from opening on Monday, according to Hellminiak.
It looks to be purely a hate crime. Law enforcement officials said it didn’t appear that the business was entered, and robbery is not considered a motive.
Two days after Thanksgiving, Chico resident David Darsey, 26, was coming home from his job at North Valley Holistic Health, a marijuana dispensary off Nord Avenue north of Chico, when he was hit by a shotgun blast in the back.
Darsey, who suffered serious injuries and was rushed into surgery at Enloe Medical Center, is reportedly recovering.
“We’re just trying to do the right thing; we didn’t see this coming at all,” said Darsey’s friend and co-worker Harold Young after learning about the vandalism at Cascade Wellness Center.
Robert Galia, operator of North Valley Holistic Health, said he received a death threat over the phone after Darsey was shot, but doesn’t believe the personal responsible has a legitimate complaint against his business.
Galia said the real motive is scaring the cooperatives into shutting down, if Darsey’s shooting and Monday morning’s shotgun vandalism are conneccted.
“Whatever is behind this, I hope it ends here,” Young said.
Galia said he wants the violence to end, but he hired a security guard on Monday to watch the business, just in case.