Dispensary Closure Protesters To Feds: Cannabis Is Medicine


The Petrelis Files

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
An estimated crowd of 50-60 loyal medical marijuana supporters made their presence known at the Federal Building on Golden Gate Avenue this morning in San Francisco to show their solidarity for the dispensary, Market Street Coop that is being forced to close at 7pm today.
Market Street Coop is the last of the dispensaries in the San Francisco/Marin County area that was served by the Justice Department with the so-called infamous, ‘Five Letters.’
Toke of the Town was able to “obtain” one of those letters.
The Five Letters refer to the documents sent out by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, Melinda Haag, starting in October of last year to landlords of dispensaries, threatening asset forfeiture. All five dispensaries that received those letters have had to close.
Two of the dispensaries, Divinity Tree and Medithrive. have been able to make the lateral move to a delivery service as many pot shops have had to do in order not to lose everything. The Market Street Coop doesn’t have that kind of wiggle room.

Jack Rikess

​Tate Swindell, co-director of M.S.C. said that a delivery service wasn’t in their immediate future because of restriction brought on by the recent crackdown by the Feds.
“Because of what Lynnette Shaw (of the Marin Alliance dispensary) tried to do to prevent the closing of her dispensary…and how…she was unsuccessful…We don’t have the money or funds to protest this…or what it takes to fight the Feds,” Swindell said.
And the reason your dispensary is being closed is why?
“There is a school around the corner from our dispensary. We’re talking city blocks here, so the Feds say that we’re too close to the school. Number One, if it’s a 1,000 feet, it is as the crow flies. To find the school, you have to go around two corners and then some. The school didn’t even know we were here! And we were here before the school opened!” Swindell also stated.

Jack Rikess

​And that’s the reason Melinda Haag is closing your dispensary?
“Yes. By the way, there are thirteen establishments that serve alcohol in the same radius as our dispensary, but that’s okay with the D.O.J.”, Mr. Swindell said shaking his head.
A patient name Michael held up a freezer bag of pills and other salves in one hand that he’s supposed to take for his HIV treatment during the informal press conference that was being held on the doorsteps of the Federal Building. In the other hand he held up about an eighth of an ounce of cannabis and asked, “Why?”
Why does the United States government want someone like Michael to take a pharmaceutical approach that is detrimental to his system when for a tenth of the cost and a much better treatment is available? 

Jack Rikess

​That really hit home with the protesters present. 
There will be a candle light vigil/ love-in tonight starting at 6:30pm at the dispensary. They’re still doing business until then. If you can’t make it to their closing, please take a moment to write your congressperson or the president, and say, “What the Fuck? Cannabis is medicine.” Oh, yes, please do this politely. 
Market Street Coop

1884 Market St. @ Laguna


Tonight, January 9, 2012

Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at jackrikess.com.

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.