Murrieta Moratorium on Marijuana Dispensaries Doesn't Stop New Operator

The operator of a new medical marijuana dispensary in Murrieta was served notice Monday of the city's moratorium.

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 3 p.m. Dec. 10 with a response from the Murrieta Police Department.

A medical marijuana dispensary that has been operating in Murrieta for a little more than two weeks has been served a notice of the city's moratorium on such operations.

Two Murrieta police code enforcement officers served the notice to Diamond Star Remedies, 41449 Los Alamos Road, just after 11 a.m. Monday.

Patch got video of the officers serving the notice after it was notified by dispensary owner John Szwec that he was expecting a visit from city officials.

Szwec said he was also served a similar notice on Friday after being denied a business license by the city.

Szwec said he is renting the lot on Los Alamos Road with plans to buy it, pave the dirt lot and erect a permanent building. He is serving about 40 patients in a modular building that was already located on the site.

"As soon as they (the city) are willing to stop harassing—and start following state laws—I will eventually pave this and put a building up,” Szwec told Patch.

He said he chose the Murrieta location because he found a landlord who was willing to allow its use for a dispensary.

Diamond Star Remedies is currently serving about 40 patients he said, all of whom have provided a valid doctor's recommendation and valid California identification.

Szwec said he is licensed by the California State Board of Equalization to dispense medical marijuana, as use of the drug is permitted for medical purposes under the state's Compassionate Use Act.

"We filed for a business license, told the city what we were doing," Szwec said. "It was denied. This is about safe access for people with a doctor's recommendation."

There is no signage on the nondescript dispensary near the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Los Alamos Road.

"We are not trying to make it noticeable, it's just safe access," Szwec said.

Szwec said he has hired an attorney to defend his right to operate under state law.

The city is currently involved in two lawsuits over dispensaries that have since ceased operations.

Murrieta city council unanimously voted in September to extend the city's moratorium for one year while it awaits a state Supreme Court decision on whether cities have the power to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in their jurisdictions.

Murrieta code enforcement Linda Mejia said her job in serving the notice Monday was as a city liaison, to give the dispensary information on legal uses of the property.

She referred questions to the Murrieta Police Department.

Lt. Tony Conrad, who oversees detective operations, confirmed the police department was looking into the dispensary and that he would provide further comment Tuesday.

dick weed December 11, 2012 at 04:38 PM
murrieta and its people in charg, WHAT A JOKE,
FlyingTooLow December 11, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The closest I have ever seen marijuana come to harming anyone was during an air drop. We brought in 1100 pounds from Jamaica and dropped it in a peanut field in middle Georgia. The bales were dropped from a small plane at 125 feet altitude. One of the bales, about 80 pounds, missed my compadre by only a few feet... but it surely messed up his truck. You can read about it in: Shoulda Robbed a Bank That is my contribution to helping point out just how ludicrous our pot laws truly are.
SA December 11, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Andy, I apologize as I can’t extrapolate as to what you are getting at. Marijuana is “taboo” when it should not be. I have been around marijuana my entire life and tried it a few times; however it turns me into a lunchbox, therefore I do not use it. More “pressing issues”, dirty politicians, thugs, crack, graffiti, homeless, elder abuse, child abuse, sex crimes, unions etc. My point is the city should not be wasting resources on marijuana.
Tim92562 December 11, 2012 at 06:36 PM
The City of Murrieta is going to be paying all of these dispensaries the "money lost" while they were forcefully shut down. The liberal California Supreme Court will not rule in Murrieta's favor therefore these people will then be granted the revenue they lost. Straight from the pocket of Murrieta Residents. Way to go council.
ms400 December 11, 2012 at 06:47 PM
truth123, You have issues, thats obvious. You must be a supermodel. Even if you are so great looking on the outside you must be truely miserable and ugly on the inside. Maggie's fine reporting of a story must have really got to you or someone close and exposed a truth about them or you. Pretty sure if you were busted and had a story on Patch she didn't make you commit the act she just reported on it as being told by the police or another credible source. She's not implying guilt or innocence, she's just reporting the news as it comes in. Hey Maggie, any updates on the Josh Danielson alleged theft.
Entitlement Queen December 11, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I have nothing against these businesses. I equate them to bars and liquor stores. Just regulate them and move on. I heard a group of wealthy investors are opening a strip club in Murrieta. . Wow it is about time. You talk about a cash cow!
Jim December 11, 2012 at 08:34 PM
If the voters have legalized this issue in California why does the city council always continue to vote against the people? This is State Law in California. its Legal. Why does our city council feel they need to step in to Save us from something that is Legal in the State of California? All of them (city council) are Republicans. When will republicans get with the program and stop fighting against the Vote and Voice of the people. Its Legal in California. Get over it.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 08:36 PM
@the truth 123. You are a horrible person. Maggie is beautiful and awesome. I wish that the patch would "ban" hateful people like yourself. You are a sad individual.
Blondie422 December 11, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Colorado and Washington are going to TAX these companies and make $Billions! We should tax them and hopefully make enough revenue to pay off our debts here in Murrieta. I say Tax them, Tax them, Tax them and make money off of them instead of giving them free money once they sue us and win.
Andy December 11, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Fair enough SA. I misconstrued your comment. My apologies as well.
Blondie422 December 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Agree Andy. We are broke, yet our city will waste our money on something that is legal in the State of California. Spend our money reducing our fees for paramedics and Tax these entities and give the money back to the citizens of Murrieta.
Blondie422 December 11, 2012 at 11:35 PM
We trust these drug companies and they give us drugs that "kill us".http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/steroid-injections-recalled-meningitis-outbreak-34490/ We don't know whats in our prescription drugs and we just take them anyway. Amen Desert. Amen.
Blondie422 December 11, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Maggie, you did an awesome job getting out there and covering the story. It appears that the other newspapers got the story "after" you published it. Good job and good reporting.
Darlana December 11, 2012 at 11:44 PM
@kentswife: You must be so perfect tellng others to go up north as if Murrieta is such a church going town. Sorry to spill the beans but Murrieta is just like any other city in California. They have a right to stay right here and fight. If you don't like it then simply do not go to their business. If they can't make money then they will leave. However, if they can make money then it means that Murrieta residents are paying them. Stop protecting us. We are grown ups.
Darlana December 11, 2012 at 11:48 PM
I could care less if they open up shop here. I'm not going to go but that is my right. If you have issues like Cancer, Pain, etc and you are taking OXY for the pain then this is far less harmful. I still believe that Murrieta residents can choose not to go to this place and they will simply leave. However, if the residents want it then they have a right under California law to have it.
david s December 12, 2012 at 12:42 AM
maybe if they shut this down they can buy some more of those murrieta PD escalades and the brand new 2014 chargers -_-
LBV Collins December 12, 2012 at 12:56 AM
No joke, FTL. Pot is about the safest drug on the planet, with no deaths due to overdose ever recorded... in human history. In fact, marijuana is apparently safer than energy drinks: "...news broke that the Food and Drug Administration was investigating five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack linked to Monster Energy Drink." http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57538398/monster-beverage-corp-reportedly-denies-role-in-14-year-olds-death/
FlyingTooLow December 12, 2012 at 01:15 AM
LBV Collins... We are on the same page...I have read the articles you post as links... Please, check out my books: Shoulda Robbed a Bank Welcome to Prison-Enjoy Your Stay They are both available on Amazon.com ...and respond directly to your comment...they are very real...I spent 5 years in prison just to acquire the material for these... I speak the truth... The 'energy drinks'...I tried one on a very long drive hoping it would keep me awake...I pulled over and threw up...fuck that shit Pardon my French... A million thanks for your comment, Hugh Yonn
LBV Collins December 12, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Hi Hugh. Thanks for the tip! Added both books to my Amazon "Wish List." (Christmas IS coming up , ya' know!) BTW: French pardoned... ;)
Darlana December 12, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Republicans on the Murrieta city council need to respect the voters. If this issue has been voted on by the people of the State of California then our city council needs to leave it alone. They were against the people when we voted to get rid of the red light cameras. Now they are against the people who have voted to legalize these companies for medical purposes. Our city council needs to stand up for the rights of the voters and stop playing judge over us. Stand for the voter even if you do not agree with their vote. Simply support the voters rights and State's rights.
Darlana December 12, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Its legal in California. Its time to get over it and move on to something relevant. Look at Colorado and Washington. Its over. Its legal. We don't need to be afraid of something that has been here forever.
ty stanonis December 12, 2012 at 03:42 AM
my grandfather has "MS" and stage 4 cancer in his spine. he's in constant pain, can't control his muscles, can't walk, sometimes chokes when he eats, the list goes on... he uses edibles as part of his treatment. he could be your neighbor, how is his use affecting anyone else in this city? come stand in front of him and tell him that you want to take his prescription from him... ignorance
Darlana December 12, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Sorry to hear about your grandfather. This same thing happened to my mother. She had stage 4 cancer, had many organs removed and was constantly in pain. I was willing to do anything just to stop her agonizing pain. She also ate edibles and that gave her an appetite. I also cooked whatever food she wanted. You are so correct. It is ignorance that fuels the fire of these city councils..
Beach mom December 12, 2012 at 05:56 AM
Anyone who is or knows someone in almost unbearable pain should stop and reconsider the legal use of pot. It's the compassionate human thing to do. Oh and the truth 123, go F yourself. You're an ass**le. Classless fool
OIF OEF OND December 12, 2012 at 09:31 AM
The police and Murrieta are both great at what they do. what I write bellow is just a thought process/rant. I don't see why the police are pulling over anyone who isn't committing a crime, even to question someone over something so trivial. Prop 215 won in 1996. People who commit crimes are people coming out of bars, or weekend barbecues/family gatherings under the influence of anything and deciding to drive. Stake out the liquor stores, and bars. most people getting alcohol late in the evening are already under the influence, and ran out. I don't understand why cops want to be a detour signs for a prescription drug. Maybe a Cop should be on duty in every bar in uniform, not just a place to pick up a prescribed drug in Murrieta. That's right city council is our doctor, and the place to get your medication.... I forgot. City Council should attack Walgreens and rite aid and have cops asking their customers I'f the pharmacist asked to see my written prescription or id/verification. Wait they are more professional because they have a store brand/PhD and can supervise a cashier. So does the doctor who proscribed mmj. Way to support mom and pop stores Murrieta. Keep people down in a struggling economy. Theres nothing like working part time for a Corp that just gives bigger bonus to its ceo's for keeping medical costs out of the equation. Do i think cops should stick to catching bad Men and Women not some paid mob for a city council? Sound like a future police state to me.
FlyingTooLow December 12, 2012 at 01:47 PM
LBV Collins... A million thanks for your comments. I truly hope you enjoy the books and look forward to your reviews. (Warning: the books contain some pretty strong language) I wish you and your family a very safe and Merry Christmas
FlyingTooLow December 12, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Beach mom... Well said!!!
LBV Collins December 12, 2012 at 03:41 PM
You're welcome, Hugh. And best wishes to you and your family, too!
dick weed December 12, 2012 at 05:31 PM
i agree but the Murrieta city council thinks and or do what ever they want when they want, cant wait till the backlash of there behavior and making up there own rules finally catches up with them, peoples voice, they dont care its all about them and there buddy's, cant wait till the roof comes down on all of them
Tonie December 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
To: The truth 123 You have a very mean spirit and it seems that you attack people you may not know. I would like to say that my family and I have been a victim of the press and have taken a different path, we contacted the writer, Maggie Avants, she assures us that she will follow our case and write all the facts when they come out. I can tell you that it is NOT the writer that is at fault, it is the system in which in we live. It seems that if you have been accused of a crime you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent, instead of the other way around. So truth 123 do something about the system not the writer, and maybe if you feel strong about something use your real name.


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