|Photo: Cal Pot News/Corning Observer|
More than seven months after Butte County, California law enforcement coordinated raids on seven marijuana dispensaries, the sheriff’s office claims it is still “investigating” the case, so the District Attorney’s Office has yet to file criminal charges.
A number of dispensary owners have since filed civil cases to have their confiscated money returned, reports Katy Sweeny at the Chico Enterprise-Record.
More than 100 law enforcement officers on June 30, 2010 served search warrants on seven marijuana dispensaries and 11 residences in Chico, Forest Ranch, Magalia and the Sacramento County town of Rio Lindo. The officers stole — I mean, “confiscated” — marijuana, guns, financial records, computers, Proposition 215 verifications, cash, and other items.
Investigating officer Jake Hancock, now with the Butte County District Attorney’s Office, said forensic copies of the computers have been made, so those have been returned. Other seized materials — including documents, marijuana, and money — have not.
Hancock said he’s “hopeful” he can “soon” turn over information for the District Attorney’s Office to file charges.
To get the search warrants, Hancock provided detailed information to a Butte County Superior Court judge from undercover officers who claimed they bought marijuana with fraudulent recommendations from “a number” of the raided dispensaries.
Those dispensaries include Scripts Only Services, California Harm Reduction Cooperative Inc., California Patients Collective, Mountainside Patient Collective, Doctors Order Cooperative, Northern California Herbal Collective and Cascade Wellness Center.
There is no law that requires collectives or dispensaries to verify medical marijuana authorizations, according to Rick Tognoli of Scripts Only Services; it’s just an industry standard.
“This goes back to the ridiculousness of dry counties in the South where you can’t buy beer,” Tognoli said, adding that patients should be allowed to share marijuana.
Hancock said he had no comment on whether marijuana authorizations must be verified.
Law enforcement hasn’t given him back “squat,” according to Tognoli, who said officers killed more than 100 marijuana plants from the collective.
Tognoli said he shut down the shop after the raid, but about 100 members still come to the collective for marijuana or get deliveries, he said.