Memo Prompts Fresno Pot Dispensary to Re-Open

October 19, 2009 6:38:53 PM PDT
Medmar owner Rick Morse said, "As of 12 pm today, Medmar Clinic is resuming operation. Come on in."The owner of the medical marijuana dispensary shop in Fresno's Tower District said he feels validated by the US Attorney General's memo advising federal prosecutors in California not to go after medical marijuana dispensaries. In essence, the feds are saying prosecuting prescription pot is not a priority. Morse said, "Basically from that point we decided we were going to re-open."

The memo was sent to prosecutors in 14 states where medical marijuana is legal. It says pot-smoking patients with a prescription and their suppliers shouldn't be targeted because it's not a good use of time and resources.

Rick Morse's son Brandon said, "I think there are much more important things we can spend our time and resources on; A, the homeless issue, B, trying to get better jobs, C, education."

Fresno's Assistant City Attorney said, "I can understand people being concerned about priorities but as far as our office is concerned, we are here to enforce the city ordinances as they exist. And right now we do have the resources to prosecute this." Sloan said he was shocked by the government's memo. "I don't think I've ever seen a memo from the US Attorney's office that said they're choosing not to enforce any particular laws."

Even though the feds are turning a blind eye to medical pot shops and patients, Fresno leaders say they're not. The city council recently adopted a new ordinance banning dispensaries. Those still selling pot could find themselves facing new legal problems. Sloan said, "They could be subject to a contempt action with the judge.

This internal memo from the US Attorney's office would not change the judge's order until the judge says so himself."

The city is still moving forward with it's lawsuit against the nine pot dispensaries in Fresno for violating a zone ordinance. Action News called the other eight dispensaries to see if they too re-opened today; one said they never closed. Others had no comment, and one answering machine said the dispensary is relocating next week.

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