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2 Weho Medical Pot Dispensaries Remain Closed After Raid

Alternative Herbal Health Services and Zen Healing are part of an ongoing criminal investigation, DEA spokeswoman Sarah Pullen says.

Two of West Hollywood's four medicinal marijuana collectives,  and , remain closed after a federal and local law enforcement  Tuesday afternoon. , which was also closed that same day, but not raided, is back open for business.

Weho Patch approached workers at Alternative Herbal and Zen Healing on Wednesday afternoon for comments. Staffers at both dispensaries declined to speak to the media. At Zen Healing, the “Closed Permanently” sign that had been prominently displayed in the front window Tuesday after the raid was no longer posted.

Sarah Pullen, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, confirmed that both stores were served with federal warrants.

“The warrants are sealed by the courts, which means I can’t discuss any of the details,” Pullen said. “It’s part of an ongoing investigation.”

She did say that although one individual was detained and questioned, he was later released. However charges may be filed at a future date.

Pullen said the DEA followed the new Department of Justice guidelines, enacted in 2009, regarding medical marijuana.

“It’s very safe to say that the DOJ is aware of the investigation and is following the revised guidelines,” Pullen said.  

However, Pullen did hint that when a raid involves a medical marijuana collective, there is a distinct suspicion on the part of law enforcement that other laws may be being violated there.  

As for why the Los Angeles Police Department was involved in raids happening in West Hollywood, where the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has jurisdiction, Pullen said that an LAPD task force member is assigned to the investigation.

“It’s a federal investigation,” she said, meaning federal law supersedes state and local jurisdiction.  

Ali March 17, 2011 at 09:08 PM
I don't abuse drugs either. I use marijuana for my chronic pain and anxiety. Did you know that Medicare and Medi-Cal won't pay for anxiety medications? So what are those of use with anxiety disorders to do but self medicate. The meds my doctors give me for chronic pain are ALL addicting. Do you think I want to be on those meds? The pharmaceutical companies are the drug pushers that cause millions of people to be drug addicts. I don't give a damn what is socially acceptable. My social life went out the window years ago due to my medical conditions. You are very misinformed Paul. But you are entitled to your opinion. It is a shame you haven't taken the time to educate yourself. But it is your choice. JUST DON'T LABEL ALL THE PATIENTS BECAUSE OF THOSE THAT ABUSE THE SYSTEM. Most that I've met have legitimate reasons to be at the dispensaries. Like I have said before, many many disabilities are invisible. Just because someone looks healthy doesn't mean they are.
Paul March 17, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Ali, I am sorry for your pain. As I stated for the sick like yourself the pot stores are helpful but most people do abuse the system. People are just getting prescriptions willy, nilly as doctors can't write em fast enough. Someone needs to regulate the system so the VERY ill like yourself can get the pot legally with prescriptions ONLY. We need to protect the kids because it is a gateway drug to much more dangerous drugs. It is a statistical fact.
Jim March 19, 2011 at 12:29 AM
If the issue is taxes, then how exactly is the operator of a dispensary supposed to pay them? With the discrepancy between State and Federal law, nobody wants to file an IRS form, or, for that matter, a similar form with the state Franchise Tax Board. A system of anonymous tax stamps, whose true purpose is left unstated, might be one solution. Beyond that, we have to wonder if it was a question of profiteering, which has been suggested elsewhere. Here it becomes pretty vague, because how do you determine what a fair price is for a commodity which is still essentially illicit? Undoubtedly, a dispensary as popular as Zen Healing was raking in hundreds or thousands of dollars in cold green cash every day. But whether profiteering or no, the operator had to pay rent and keep the lights on, not to mention maintain his inventory. I hope this isn't just a case of the Feds seeing that he took in so many thousands of dollars that day, and arbitrarily labeling him a profiteer. @Nikki---I'm sure that if the Feds provide a mechanism through which dispensary operators can pay any reasonable taxes for which they are liable, and not risk incarceration or seizure of assets by doing so, then most of the operators will be happy to comply. It would be better for everyone that way.
Jim March 19, 2011 at 12:30 AM
If the issue is taxes, then how exactly is the operator of a dispensary supposed to pay them? With the discrepancy between State and Federal law, nobody wants to file an IRS form, or, for that matter, a similar form with the state Franchise Tax Board. A system of anonymous tax stamps, whose true purpose is left unstated, might be one solution. Beyond that, we have to wonder if it was a question of profiteering, which has been suggested elsewhere. Here it becomes pretty vague, because how do you determine what a fair price is for a commodity which is still essentially illicit? Undoubtedly, a dispensary as popular as Zen Healing was raking in hundreds or thousands of dollars in cold green cash every day. But whether profiteering or no, the operator had to pay rent and keep the lights on, not to mention maintain his inventory. I hope this isn't just a case of the Feds seeing that he took in so many thousands of dollars that day, and arbitrarily labeling him a profiteer.
Glyn March 19, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Paul stating something is astatistical fact doesn't make it so. Actually recent data has shot down the gateway drug bs. Especially if you account for the fact that the government has lumped it in with cocaine etc. The only way it can be a gateway is because kids do usually try pot first. They don't become addicted to it physically, mental addiction is a different story and can happen with literrally anything, so they figure the rest of what they are told about cocaine, heroin, meth, etc is also bull. Unfortunately it is not and those things do destroy lives. We should be free in this country to make our own choices. Next you would want to force people to only eat healthy foods, or give up coffe, an actual phsically addictive and harmful substance. The facts are you are unfortunately misinformed. You don't seem like a bad guy and Im sorry for your nephew but overuse of anything is counterproductive and should be refrained from.

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