Tag Archives: Berkeley medical marijuana
The state Board of Equalization and Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) have worked out a compromise that reduces the dispensary’s delinquent tax bill from $7.5 million to $49,500.
Despite selling millions of dollars in medical cannabis each year and paying its top executives close to $1 million in salaries, BPG told the state it could not afford to pay the taxes and interest it owed for the years 2004 to 2007, according to a document prepared by the Board of Equalization. At its Dec. 18-19, 2012, meeting, the board voted unanimously to accept a compromise payment of $49,500. … Continue reading »
Greenleaf Wellness Group, which had been operating a medical cannabis collective at 1515 Dwight Way since Jan. 2012, was declared a public nuisance and in violation of various city statutes by Berkeley City Council at its meeting last night.
Cannabis collectives are allowed in Berkeley in residential areas provided that the collective is incidental to residential use. At a public hearing in Dec. 2012, the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) determined in a unanimous vote that Greenleaf was operating in a commercial building and that the collective use was primary, not incidental. The council on Tuesday night concurred with the ZAB decision and approved a staff recommendation to enjoin and terminate Greenleaf’s use of the building. Councilmember Kriss Worthington was the only dissenting vote on the council.
“Not only is this not allowed to be a collective, because it’s not entirely in a residential zone, but even if it was in a residential zone, it’s not a residential use,” said Councilmember Jesse Arreguín. “That just right off the bat clearly prohibits it from being a collective. … Continue reading »
The sign for Perfect Plants Patients Group is still in the window of 2840-B Sacramento Street, but the cannabis collective has closed up shop, according to its owner, Eric Thomas.
The collective shut its doors on Nov. 14, the day after the Berkeley City Council held a public hearing that determined the collective was a nuisance and was in violation of zoning laws, according to Thomas. While he moved out his product, many files, and some furniture that day, the landlord changed the locks on Nov. 15 when Thomas did not pay the next month’s rent. He has been unable to get inside to retrieve the last of his possessions and take out the sign, he said.
Thomas has no firm plans to reopen the collective, which has been operating since September 2011. He runs another 3PG in Vallejo and he is offering Berkeley clients a 25% discount on medicine purchased there, he said. 3PG is also doing Berkeley deliveries from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. … Continue reading »
The landlord of the San Pablo Avenue building that houses 40 Acres Medical Marijuana Growers’ Collective won a court judgement last week to evict the cannabis business.
An Alameda County jury voted 12-0 on Nov. 2 that the collective was a nuisance and an unlawful use of the property, according to Michael McLaughlin, attorney for Clarence Soe, who owns the building with his two sisters. The sheriff’s department is scheduled to evict Chris Smith, the collective’s top executive, the collective, and other tenants the week of Nov. 26, he said.
But the eviction might be stayed if Smith’s attorney convinces a court that Soe rented the premises to Smith under false pretenses, said Clifford Fried, Smith’s attorney. He has filed for an injunction against the eviction as well as a separate lawsuit charging Soe with fraud and asking for $50,000 in damages. … Continue reading »
More than a year after it opened its doors in an apparent violation of Berkeley’s zoning laws, city officials are taking steps to shutter the Perfect Plants Patients Group (3Pgs) at 2840-B Sacramento Street.
City staff will ask the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday to find that 3Pgs is a public nuisance and is in violation of Berkeley’s municipal code. If the ZAB board agrees, the matter will be referred to the City Council for action.
The city believes that 3PGs is violating numerous zoning and municipal code laws: it is operating a retail outlet without a permit; it is operating as a medical cannabis dispensary without a permit; if it tries to claim it is a cannabis collective rather than a dispensary it is still operating illegally because collectives cannot be in commercial districts. 3Pgs is also located just 546 feet from Longfellow Middle School. The law requires a 600-foot buffer.
“As a result of the above facts and investigation, it is apparent that Perfect Plants Patients Group cannabis operation at 2840-B Sacramento Street has repeatedly and consistently operated in violation of BMC Chapter 12.26 and the Zoning Ordinance,” states the staff report’s conclusion. … Continue reading »
[Article is updated at the bottom.]
Three months after the federal government forced it from its long-term home on San Pablo Avenue, the Berkeley Patients Group has found a new location just a few blocks away.
Construction crews have been working to transform a small, dilapidated one-story building at 2366 San Pablo Avenue near Channing Way into BPG’s new dispensary. On Wednesday, a bulldozer was breaking up an asphalt parking lot and workers were hauling away debris.
Berkeley Patients Group declined to answer questions about its new location, but it looks like it will be many weeks or months before it can open. In a permit application submitted to the city by Sean Luse, one of BPG’s managers, the dispensary applied for permission to replace its parking lot and renovate the 1,200 square foot building, including cutting new doors to make it accessible for those in wheelchairs. The structure was built in 1964 as an A&W drive-in restaurant. … Continue reading »
Medical cannabis patients in Berkeley will have a more difficult time getting marijuana after Berkeley Patient’s Group shuts down on May 1.
California Watch is reporting today that BPG has signed a legal agreement with its landlord, David Mayeri, to vacate the premises. The agreement came after Mayeri received a letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag warning him there might be financial or legal repercussions if distribution of cannabis did not cease at that location.
“Berkeley Patients Group agrees to cease all cannabis-related activities and remove all cannabis-related property from the premises by May 1, 2012,” a legal document filed Feb. 28 in Alameda County Court states, according to California Watch.
The owner of the building that houses the Berkeley Patients Group has put it up for sale, further fueling whispers that the federal government sent a letter ordering the cannabis dispensary to shut down.
Gordon Commerical Real Estate is listing the property at 2747 San Pablo Avenue, which is owned by David Mayeri, as a development site for $2.55 million. The 17,500 square foot structure, built in 1953, is an old car dealership, and has a distinctive rounded front room with curved windows that once displayed automobiles. The property has permits in place for a five-story mixed-use building.
The East Bay Express reported in February that the head of NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, said that BPG had gotten a letter from the federal government telling it to shut down. Officials from Berkeley Patients Group have declined to confirm or deny the reports that Mayeri received a letter from U.S. Attorney Melissa Haag. But well-informed sources who asked not to be named tell Berkeleyside that Mayeri got a notice in late November. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley has issued “cease and desist” orders to two medical cannabis collectives, leading one to shut its doors.
The 40 Acres Medical Marijuana Growers Collective at 1820 San Pablo Avenue stopped operations in late January after Berkeley Code Enforcement sent it a letter informing the group it was operating in violation of the city’s municipal code.
The Perfect Plants Patients Group, or 3pgs, at 2840B Sacramento Street is still in business.
“It has come to the City of Berkeley’s attention that you are operating a medical marijuana establishment that is dispensing medical marijuana in a non-residential zoning district,” Gregory Daniel, the code enforcement supervisor, wrote to the two collectives on Dec. 8. “The establishment is in violation of the Berkeley Municipal Code … and must therefore cease and desist.”
Daniel also told 3pgs that it is operating less than 600 feet from Longfellow Middle School, which is the minimum distance any cannabis entity can be from a school. … Continue reading »
City Councilman Jesse Arreguín will ask the city manager tonight to investigate whether two medical cannabis collectives are operating in violation of Berkeley’s zoning laws.
Arreguín’s announced his intent after a contentious meeting of the Medical Cannabis Commission on Thursday, Dec. 1. The MCC spent a large part of its meeting debating whether to send a letter to city officials drawing attention to the proliferation of collectives in commercial districts, but could not agree on the wording. The MCC will take up the matter again in January.
“I don’t think this should be swept under the rug,” said Arreguín. “It is an important issue. Some action needs to be taken. The city is trying to be sensitive to these particular collectives, which provide medicine to patients. At the same time, they are clearly violating the city’s zoning laws and medical marijuana ordinances.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s Medical Cannabis Commission agreed on Thursday to send a letter to the city manager expressing concern about the proliferation of cannabis collectives in areas that are not zoned for them.
The commission noted that two collectives – 40 Acres and Perfect Patient’s Plant Group – were operating much like dispensaries without having to comply with the numerous laws that regulate them, including getting licensed and paying taxes
“It is really important that we watch out for the interests of those people who are abiding by what is asked of them by the City of Berkeley,” said Commissioner Stewart Jones, referring to the three dispensaries currently permitted by the city. “I am concerned about an influx of (groups) coming into Berkeley. There are two now. Next week there could be two more.” … Continue reading »
In the 21 months since it opened, the 40 Acres Medical Marijuana Growers Collective has seen its membership jump to more than 7,000 people, making it one of the fastest growing and largest cannabis businesses in Berkeley.
From a set of rooms located above the Albatross pub on San Pablo Avenue, 40 Acres has become more than just a place where people can obtain and consume medical cannabis. Started by African-Americans, run by African-Americans, 40 Acres aims to bring diversity to the medical cannabis movement and use the rapidly growing industry as a way to open up opportunities for the poor and disenfranchised.
The leaders of the collective actively reach out to marginalized
young adults and encourage them to enter the group’s training program, where they can learn the nuts and bolts of bud tending, cultivation, patient intake methods, and how to assess product.
“There is a population of kids, high school dropouts, who are coming to us to learn,” said Toya Groves, a director and one of the four co-founders of the group. “This is a way the unemployable become employable.” … Continue reading »
After months of delay, Berkeley’s new Medical Cannabis Commission will meet for the first time on Thursday, ushering in, city officials hope, a new era of oversight and accountability.
For the past 15 years the medical marijuana business has operated in a gray zone, legal in the city and the state but at risk from crackdowns by the federal government, which does not recognize cannabis as medicine. Despite this uncertainty, the medical cannabis industry has flourished in Berkeley, spawning three … Continue reading »