Fresno Seeks to Shut Down Pot Dispensaries

September 17, 2009 8:55:18 AM PDT
Samples of medicinal marijuana are on display at the California Herbal Relief Center. The marijuana dispensary opened in Fresno's Tower District just two months ago. It serves more than six hundred customers, with a variety of marijuana. Owner Sean Dwyer explains, "Just like there are different types of pharmaceutical drugs there are different strains of marijuana that do different things."

Dwyer opens one of the several glass canisters containing large plant buds. He said, "This is one of our more popular the Strawberry Cough. This is more of an indica, so it helps to stimulate appetite as well as give someone a more energetic feeling."

Under California law anyone with a doctors recommendation can buy marijuana for medicinal purposes. But the city of Fresno says since it's still against Federal law to sell pot, dispensaries like this are operating illegally, and thus violate a city ordinance prohibiting any business that violates state or federal law. The city attorney has been seeking a temporary restraining order to force the shops to close, for awhile anyway.

Dwyer said, "In a way it is harassment. They know a lot of us are new businesses and they know that bringing this action against us costs us a lot of money in legal fees so even if they can't shut us down they're hoping to force us into bankruptcy."

Customers, like Dustin, who has a state issued Medical Marijuana ID card has a legal right to buy marijuana and is upset with the city. "They can't step on our rights these are laws that are put in place so that people who are medically sick can use medical marijuana," said Dustin.

David Townsend is not a customer at this dispensary but says marijuana helps him deal with the side effects of end stage kidney failure. Townsend said, "It's just a sad situation. A lot of old people and people that I know from the dialysis unit they are dying of cancer and other ailments that they can't really do anything and pot's very good for those things."

Dwyer says if the dispensaries close, then his customers will buy pot on the street, or make their purchases out of town in cities where marijuana sales are legal.

      MORE LOCAL NEWS | TWEET@ABC30 | FREE ABC30 WIDGET
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
Breaking News E-Mail Alerts | Text Message Alerts
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
More News on abc30.com
California/State | National/World | Weather | Entertainment | Business | Politics | Sports | Health Watch | Consumer Watch | Mr. Food |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------