Aug 202011

Fresno County sheriff’s deputies on Thursday shut down a Centerville medical marijuana dispensary that Sheriff Margaret Mims said was operating illegally.

The dispensary, called Herbal Solutions, is in a historic building that once housed an Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge.

Mims said the woman who operates the dispensary would face state charges because Herbal Solutions was opened after the Fresno County Board of Supervisors enacted a moratorium last summer against any new medical-marijuana stores. The owner also could face federal charges because the dispensary is within 1,000 feet of a school – Centerville Elementary, Jim Guy reports in the Fresno Bee.

Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors approved strict rules clamping down on the medicinal marijuana trade. Under the ordinance, dispensaries must close by March and cultivation is banned in all but some industrial parts of the county.

The new ordinance seeks to curtail what has become a flourishing and some would say problematic trade of medicinal pot across the county. Medical marijuana advocates have vowed to challenge the ordinance in court.

Authorities seized all of the marijuana products in the building and also went to the Sanger home of the dispensary owner and confiscated marijuana there.

Mims said the dispensary was in violation of state law because marijuana was sold to people who are not the primary caregiver for someone who has a medical marijuana card – a requirement under Proposition 15.

Fresno attorney Rick Horowitz, a supporter of medical pot, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the sheriff’s actions constituted “an illegal raid.” Horowitz, who does not represent the Centerville dispensary, said the object was probably to confiscate the property and harass the operators. He said he doubted the operators would face criminal charges.

“It’s just like in the old days, when the sheriff would say, ‘I’m gonna run you out of town,’ ” he said.

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