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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.  

lamedicalmarijuana March 17, 2011 at 08:18 AM
the rumor is this is about taxes the cities and counties are clarifying all their tax laws the word around town is the feds/dea are doing sweeps on anyone not paying taxes.
Brent Jarvis March 17, 2011 at 01:23 PM
If that is the case then they should be closed and back taxes paid. The only problem is that some patints must now find the medicine they need somewhere else.
Nikki Storm March 17, 2011 at 02:40 PM
Don't mess with Uncle Sam and he don't mess with you!!
lamedicalmarijuana March 17, 2011 at 06:18 PM
actually uncle same makes it impossible for any dispensary to exists because nothing can be written off; absolutely nothing can be deducted.... and on top of that you have to pay City, State, and Federal Taxes YET the feds can still come and raid you irregardless of the fact that you pay city taxes which pays for roads police fireifghters (funny how the police that u pay ure taxes to won't protect u against the federal thugs/officials who don't obey the CA's rule of LAW) it is funny prop 215 passed YEARS ago yet state officials still treat medical marijuana as if it were illegal! and they get paid from taxes from medical MJ at the State level i.e carmen trutanich and the LA Times and all the other propaganda junkets
lamedicalmarijuana March 17, 2011 at 06:26 PM
another rumor floating around is that these dispensaries were involved with large amounts of donations / bribes to city officials i wonder when the federal officials are going to go after the large dispensaries that bribed the LA City council into creating their monopoly-ordinance so that they could kill of the competition and turn themselves into mega corporations?!!? It is so obvious LA City council was bribed by the large dispensaries it isn't even funny! & this doesn't just happen in LA , in other cities the council members are routinely receiving donations from dispensaries hoping to limit their competition in their respective county/city. The same folk who created measure Z to limit dispensaries in oakland berkeley etc got LA officials to create their own measure Z in LA which limits dispensaries Now there will be a limited amount of dispensaries these dispenaries will be HUGE institutions that can control the medical marijuana industry in LA by legislating their rules it happened in up in northern california and it is happening here Mega Marijuana Dispensaries The mega dispensaries have a business model where they CANNOT face local competition because their meds come from mexico and it allows them to reach astronomical profit margins. Once there are a handfull/limited amount of dispensaries in an area and laws stop any new dispensaries from opening up GUESS who comes in to control distribution in that area (cough cartels from mexico)
Paul March 17, 2011 at 06:36 PM
I totally support closing down these pot store. It is shameful to have then in business in our city, period!! Anyone who disagrees, I respect your opinion but I feel strongly that marijuana is a gateway drug. I know this from my experience with my 20 year old nephew who has a serious problem with marijuana. This BS that it is non addictive is a line of crap! Cocaine was also non addictive remember. I patronize a coffee house in West Hollywood where a pot store is in business next door. The pot store brings pot brownies and joints as samples for the customers at the coffee house. The young people love it! Why wouldn't they? There has to be some voice of reason about this out of control business on the guise of it is for cancer or AIDS patients etc......... In a small number of case that might be true but doctor hand out these prescriptions to anyone these days sick or not. The federal drug administration needs to clamp down on this and shut down these pot stores.
lamedicalmarijuana March 17, 2011 at 06:49 PM
I agree Paul medical marijuana does cause problems alcohol and cigarettes casue many more problems, yet the government allows them so using your logic should we ban alcohol cigarettes and marijuana; how did banning alcohol work for the USA under prohibition Paul? How well has banning marijuana worked Paul? You sound like the voice box of big alcohol and tobacco!
Ali March 17, 2011 at 07:30 PM
Paul, if you can prove that a medical marijuana dispensary brings pot brownies and joints to a coffee house as samples, you should take pictures and call the Sheriff's on them. That dispensary should be shut down as that is blatantly against the law. Marijuana is NOT a gateway drug or addicting. That is just the standard line. Alcohol is more addicting and more destructive. If that were true, I would be using much harder drugs by now, and I'm not. I won't even take the pain meds my doctor gives me above the prescribed dosage instructions. Half the time, I won't take them at all because THEY are addicting and I don't' want to fall into that trap. Your nephew may have a problem, but I doubt it is from marijuana. I grew up with a brother with a severe drug problem. Marijuana did not lead him to other drugs. His friends did.
Paul March 17, 2011 at 08:33 PM
I don't abuse drugs in anyway. Alcohol is more socially exceptable in social settings. Lets face it smoking grass is low class and promotes laziness. My nephew is a perfect example of what harm it cases our youth. I feels drug abuse is BAD!!! The excuses given for these pot stores are laughable. Perfectly healthy people are abusing the sale of marijuana that is specifically designed to help people who are actually sick with AIDS or different cancers. You want it for recreational use then by it on the streets and get busted or seek help for your addiction. I don't mind other people opinions but this is how I feel.
lamedicalmarijuana March 17, 2011 at 08:39 PM
alcohol is more socially exceptable? drink much sir?
Paul March 17, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Hardly ever smart ass!
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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