Murrieta Police Confirm Investigation into Medical Marijuana Dispensary

“During this investigation we will be working closely with the Murrieta City Attorney, the Riverside County District Attorney and the United States Attorney’s Office," said Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.

The Murrieta Police Department confirmed an investigation is underway into another medical marijuana dispensary that began operating recently in the city.

Diamond Star Remedies is serving about 40 medical marijuana patients in a nondescript building at 41449 Los Alamos Rd., Patch previously reported.

The city has a moratorium in place that puts dispensaries in violation of city law. In September 2012, the moratorium was extended for one year by a unanimous city council vote.

Dispensary owner John Szwec was served a copy of the moratorium Monday, but said that under state laws, he adamantly believes he has the right to operate.

Patch sought comment from the Murrieta Police Department as to whether it intended to take action in an effort to enforce the city moratorium. In an emailed response to Patch, Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad confirmed an investigation had begun into the location.

“Our investigation will include looking at building code violations, municipal code violations and fire inspector violations,” Conrad wrote. “During this investigation we will be working closely with the Murrieta City Attorney, the Riverside County District Attorney and the United States Attorney’s Office.”

Conrad said the Police Department has investigated and taken a stance on the “illegal commercial marijuana operations that are taking place in the city of Murrieta.”

“Murrieta Police Chief Mike Baray previously declared marijuana dispensaries a nuisance to the city and a safety concern for the citizens of Murrieta,” Conrad said.

“In addition to the moratorium and the possibility of the above listed code violations, individuals involved in commercial marijuana sales and distribution are subject to federal criminal and civil actions per the Controlled Substances Act,” he said.

The city is involved in litigation with two dispensaries that have since shut their doors. While the moratorium is in place, Murrieta city attorneys have said they are awaiting state Supreme Court rulings on whether cities have the authority to regulate medical marijuana operations.

Expecting a possible lawsuit, Szwec hired Orange County-based attorney Matthew Pappas, who has taken up several other cases involving municipal regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries.

“Cities are discriminating against people who can only be patients under state law. They are violating discrimination laws,” Pappas said. “They need to get past the discriminatory behavior.”

The use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions is legal under California state law, he said, adding he believes the federal Controlled Substances Act was meant to curb recreational use of the otherwise illegal drug.

Pappas said the only members who will be served at Szwec’s Murrieta collective are those with valid doctor’s recommendations.

“Now if that doctor decides he is going to give a medical recommendation to someone who is not in need, that needs to go before the medical board,” Pappas said. “They need to go after the doctors and the people who are doing it fraudulently. Everybody that is using medical marijuana is not a pothead.”

Pappas speaks from experience.

His daughter nearly died when she was 19, he said, when she was assaulted at a party. She underwent emergency brain surgery and was in a coma, he said. She was prescribed several forms of medications but the side effects were too severe, he said, which led to a prescription for medical cannabis.

“I am planning on staying in this line of law until my daughter can access her medication the same way she would if it were prescribed and she could go to the pharmacy for it,” Pappas said.

livinsloher December 13, 2012 at 04:05 PM
well let me give my insight as I can tell you I know and am a past user and you can go to many doctors who issue these and they will write you a script for a fast 150 to 200 buckaroos. We all wanted alcohol and now we have a lot more alcoholics as it is socially acceptable as well as these so called patients will be driving around under the influence and everyone knows this slows responses down! Now my next point is how do we text if under the influence since this stays in the system so long??? I am afraid to think about what the next generation will be like as I know for a fact as I have two grown children one I smoked pot with one I did not and you can clearly see what it did to the one I smoke with. I am sickened that I made that choice and believe me I keep seeing it. A.D.D. is real and I do believe it has lots to do with my MJ use. I have seen it in friends with their children as well and the ones that they did not use with their children same mother same father but when they did not use the children are much brighter common sense as well as academic wise! I will be forever a mother with regrets so if you read this post ...this is truly someone with experience first hand!
Jone December 13, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I agree ty.
LBV Collins December 13, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Interesting stories, livinsloher. Have any research studies you can share that support your anecdotes? No? Didn't think so...
LBV Collins December 13, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Well said, Malcolm. Regarding your point that those who support prohibition, "...have to be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt," I suggest it started with race-based government corruption, which then led to brainwashing via "Reefer Madness" propaganda... all in an attempt to create and maintain an ignorant citizenry.
dick weed December 13, 2012 at 04:54 PM
wow glad to read everyone, except one moron on the same page for a change, murrieta is a joke they think and do what ever they please with no repercussions, i hope this will bite them in the ass sooner or later, and yes the MPD is like the SS thugs and way to militarism, i hope some one getts them and puts them in there place, what a bunch of arrogant assholes!!!
Entitlement Queen December 13, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Am I wrong? City law is superceded by state law which is superceded by federal law? So if Maryjane is illegal federally it doesn't matter what the state wants. The businesses are illegal until federal law changes.
Someone's mother December 13, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I guess , none of these Murrieta city people have ever been with someone with cancer. Lucky you. Education....try that before you react. There are so many diseases, how can you judge before you sit with someone in deep pain and dying.
Andrew Evans December 13, 2012 at 07:19 PM
This might be true, however, things will not change on the federal level until it changes from the ground up. The federal government will not even consider changing laws until a certain percentage of the population supports the issue at hand. I believe that time has come with more than 50% of the population and each passing month more people in favor of legalization. Laws need to change locally to show the federal government that "we the people" want change. We can thank organizations like ASA because for over a decade they dedicated themselves to doing exactly this.
Dog December 13, 2012 at 07:32 PM
this is all just money to be spent from Obamos stimulus...
calistar December 13, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I am so tired of people telling me what meds I should or should not be able to take. I have multilple sclerosis, a disease that is destroying my nervous system and causes extreme pain from muscle contractures. I am fortunate to be a medicinal marijuana user and have been for over 5 years. I am legally prescribed Vicodin, Perocet, Oxycontin, Valium, Xanax, and Baclofen. With continued use, these drugs would destroy my liver. I ingest marijuana in the evening, in the privacy of my own home. I am not bothering ANYBODY! I can only imagine how I would be able to function everyday on the pharmaceutically prescribed drugs. I am a responsible adult. I would never leave my home stoned, or drunk for that matter. Murrieta PD, stop the harrassment. Until you walk a mile in my shoes, let me be. Or maybe you need to start busting all the pharmacies in Murrieta for also dispensing legal medications. Equal rights and protection under the law.
Steven Proctor December 13, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Marijuana is legal in California and many other states. Murrieta needs to realize that there are people that need medical marijuana. I bet it would get okay'd quickly if the powers that be had cancer, or some other medical problem. It's time to vote out the idiots running Murrieta.
calistar December 13, 2012 at 09:09 PM
That's right! Let's blame Obama for the United States' puritanical values! Give me a break! Can you even explain yourself in fact-based information? Get over the election already! It's time to heal our nation!!!!
Andy December 13, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Where are all the "anti big government" and "pro states rights" Republicans on this issue? I hear crickets...
LetsBfair December 13, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I have had to watch a mother dying in pain and not eating due to stage 4 cancer. It ate her to the bones. All of the meds the cancer doctors gave her had horrible side effects. Medical cannabias was the only pill that could relax her. She did not smoke so the pills were effective. She did pass away but she lived as comfortable as she could. I thank God she was able to get what she needed and I am thankful for those bold people who stand up for States Rights and the rights of my mother.
LetsBfair December 13, 2012 at 10:44 PM
The Republicans say they believe in Freedom. Its time for this Republican City Council to stand up and prove that they belive in Freedom and States Rights.
LetsBfair December 13, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Its ime for Murrieta to get off their high horse and stand up for States Rights. The citizens of Murrieta voted out the intrusion of Street light cameras even though the City Council voted to keep them in. The people spoke and the cameras are not turned off. Its time for the people to speak and let this City Council know that they need to embrace States Rights and the rights of the citizens of Murrieta.
LetsBfair December 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM
There are so many AA stories of people getting drunk and ruining their lives. People are also ruining their lives on Prescription drugs if they abuse them. If you abuse drugs then you will be a loser "livinsloher". Just because you have abused drugs does not give you the right to take medications away from those cancer patients currently staying alive trying to reduce their pain. Sorry your life has been horrible but don't pass your problems onto the rest of the world. This issue is Legal in California so enough said.
LetsBfair December 13, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Murrieta City Council (all republicans) and the Murrieta police are all stuck up and SS thugs. No one agrees with them. Also, they need to focus on the $214,000,000.00 of debt that they have and leave the citizens alone. It is very cowardly to call the US Attorney on a local business. Such babies.
Desert Dweller December 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Republicans are for big government and ignoring state rights.
LetsBfair December 14, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Does the Republican party want to ever win again? If they do the first thing they need to do is begin to love and respect everyone and stand up for the rights of the voters. I do believe that Republicans are for States Rights. I think its the old wing of the Murrieta City Council that is still stuck in the dark ages. Now is the time that we put all city councils on notice that to vote against the people will be the quickest way to having us peform a "Recall" election. Yes, we can "Recall" any City Council member that votes "against" the rights of the people.
LetsBfair December 14, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I stand corrected. It is actually President Obama that is holding a hard line for the Feds. This just came out. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/top-senator-examine-obama-response-pot-laws-181155993--politics.html Obama could end this issue right now but he chooses to continue to put the US Attorney and Feds on the people.
Desert Dweller December 14, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Federal drug policies are good for two groups, pharmaceuticals and cartels. All ripe with corruption.
LetsBfair December 14, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Not really true Entitlement Queen. The States have rights for the citizens of that State. However, the Federal Government has overreached and continues to try and take away all States Rights. It is up to the people to stand up and fight for their States Rights. If there are no longer States Rights then it will not matter what State we move to due to the fact that the Federal Government can make 1 law for everyone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States%27_rights
Action Jackson December 14, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Let's be real. The dispensaries would see a lot less resistance from their neighbors and city councils if they really only sold to people with sincere medical issues. But it's common knowledge that most of the weed they sell, which is incredibly strong by the way, is smoked up by people who just like to smoke pot. Getting a prescription is just a formality, and is very easy to do, and most dispensaries will help you get one. If it were just cancer patients wanting medicine, nobody would object. It's a front for people to buy weed for recreational purposes and the sellers make big bucks. Plus, it is perceived to attract negative elements, similar to a liquor store. Even if you're ok with them selling pot, there is the "not in my back yard" aspect of this as well. I'm glad there isn't one next door to me. I actually believe in legalizing (or at least decriminalizing) all drugs, so don't get mad at me...but it just bothers me when people make insincere arguments and avoid the obvious truth.
Andrew Evans December 14, 2012 at 06:42 PM
This issue seems to surface quite a bit. I believe laws makers had a reason as to why "chronic pain" was added to the medical ailments in proposition 215. "It has to start somewhere, it has to start somehow"
LetsBfair December 14, 2012 at 07:37 PM
The obvious truth is "Its Legal" in the State of California. Thats all the obvious truth you need. Its legal. The people voted, the Governor signed it, so its legal. The obvious truth are some citizens want to give all of their rights to the Federal Government. Its legal so the citizens have to stand up and fight for States rights.
calistar December 14, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Where are your facts about dispensaries selling most of the "weed to people who just like to smoke pot."? When you can cite facts, then I will listen to your opinion. No one has EVER died from a marijuana overdose as the primary cause of death. This information comes directly from the CDC. During a time period of 8 years, only 279 people died of marijuana as a secondary cause of death. This is compared to over 12,000 who die each year from drug overdoses. Check the facts. I'm also glad that you don't live next to a dispensary but hopefully you don't live near a Walmart, Target, CVS, Wahlgreens, Rite Aid, or Savon either. I agree with you, it bothers me when people like you "make insincere arguments and avoid the obvious truth."
calistar December 15, 2012 at 06:02 AM
The 279 deaths were not attributed to other drugs. Most were accidents. I realize that ANY death attributed to an accident is not good, however, I can think of at least five serious to fatal drunk driving accidents that have happened here in the last two weeks. Wouldn't the Murrieta PD monies be better spent monitoring drunk driving checkpoints than stalking a dispensary serving 40 patients?
LetsBfair December 16, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Good olde Murrieta police closed it down. At least the Murrieta City Council stays true to form and continues to go against the will of the voters. One of the members of the Murrieta City Council is the President of the Riverside Republican Party. Good job supporting the will of the people.
Nicholas December 17, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Really pathetic MPD


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