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New Marijuana Co-op Opens in Murrieta—Police Say 'Illegally'

Greenhouse Cannabis Club opened its doors in Murrieta after it was shut down near Lake Elsinore.

Glass shelves were stocked with medical marijuana Tuesday afternoon in a storefront in Murrieta, although the city has a moratorium on such operations.

Eric McNeil, the owner of Greenhouse Cannabis Club, or GHCC, 26151 Jefferson Ave., Suite A, contends the operation is a cooperative—not a dispensary—and said he is operating within his rights.

"A dispensary is a place where you go and purchase products; a co-op is a club where members bring products," McNeil said. "We are allowed to take donations and those go toward (overhead)."

McNeil relocated GHCC to Murrieta after it was He was serving 2,500 clients there, and said they have followed him.

He said he chose Murrieta because his landlord agreed to give him a one-year lease.

"He hasn't had a tenant in three years," McNeil said.

Murrieta police said they were aware GHCC opened.

"Yes—illegally," said Murrieta police Capt. Dennis Vrooman when asked. "The city has a moratorium on dispensaries."

The moratorium was approved by City Council Nov. 15, 2011, and is in effect through the end of this year. (

Vrooman said further, GHCC is operating without a business license, and that the Police Department has "been in contact with our city attorney as to their operation."

GHCC opened Jan. 3 in its Murrieta location.

"When we found out they were operating, we contacted the employees Sunday," Vrooman said. "On Monday, we asked them to voluntarily close and we would not cite them.

"Mr. McNeil told us he would voluntarily close so we did not give them any administrative citations—based on his word."

But McNeil said he is operating within California law, and has hired an attorney whom he hopes will sort things out with the city.

"I was staying low-key and discreet," McNeil said. "I have no signage, just 6-inch white letters on the door."

He said he closed the shop Monday, but after his attorney served a letter to City Hall and the Police Department Tuesday, he reopened.

"My attorney advised me to go ahead and open back up," McNeil said.

McNeil said the police were cordial when they came on their initial visit.

But he complained that on Monday, his clients were stopped by police as they left the facility.

"They were harassing my patients, pulling them over without probable cause," McNeil said. "They all had (medical marijuana) cards."

Vrooman said some traffic stops were conducted.

"They were for violations separate from anything to do with the dispensary," Vrooman said. "Nobody was cited for marijuana possession. If there were any citations issued, they were for driving violations."

The city of Murrieta Dispensary owners Beth Burns and Charles Thompson racked up more than $44,000 in daily citations for being open.

simple January 11, 2012 at 02:10 PM
It's a 10$ donation for a dime bag. A 100$ donation for an 1/8 of weed. When I go get gas, it's a 3.79$ donation per gallon. Get it!
Brenda January 11, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Yesssssssss, Gas is very expensive! Especially when you drive a large SUV :( I only wish our police department would spend as much time getting drugs out of the school and out of the hands of teenagers then a co-op for medical patients. Teenagers here are doing far far worse then smoking marijuana and if that was their gateway drug they passed that at 12 yrs old. :( Meth, ecstasy, heroin(all colors), prescription drugs, huffing(everything). Sure put a officer on the door checking for medical cards(of adults), but put the rest of this huge effort onto the drug problem in our area schools and teenagers.
mike canter January 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Here we go again :( . More of the tax payers money being wasted. Wonder how much money the city of murrieta has wasted trying to shut down these dispensaries, bet it's over a million by now. what a waste they shut one of these places down and 3 more open up. I don't consider this waste of city funds appropriate, why not tax the hell out of these dispensaries and set up some guidlines to let them operate without harrassment. The police department should have much higher priorites than trying bust pot heads, come on murrieta p.d. let's focus on the child molestors, rapists, robbers, and meth/crack heads. Am i the only one who feels this way?
Galactic Cannibal January 11, 2012 at 04:03 PM
What HYPOCRISY. Wasting cops time over marijuana. When after 10 years or WAR killing thousands in Afghanistan .They grow the worlds largest crop of poppies under the protection of the U.S. Military. Those fields of poppies contribute $$$ to the Taliban and produce vast quantities of Opium etc sold in US . Europe and Asia.. Why hasn't our U.S. Military eradicated (burned) those harvests of poppies. WHy . But we can waste our time in Murrieta and Lake Elsinore over a non deadly weed like Marijuana. But I forgot . That's the LAW. here, but not in Afghanistan where we have 130,000 U.S. troops costing U.S. Tax payers 1/2 $$$trillion dollars.. HYPOCRISY 100%, That and Racism rule America not forgetting GREED and Magical Religions.. GC
colleen January 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Yaaa Brenda, I've lived here for over 22 Years,they always hire to clean up this city, then do it! They don't RAID Retirement homes do They? Well walking into a clinic has the same movement,Slow,and Relaxed.I've been sick for years,and I just wannabe LEFT ALONE! I wanna know that I can keep a little on me for when I start a seizure, I can have my medicine on Me.I can go and get medicine to hold Me thru the week.. 1 cop pulled me over,n after search,even tho I told Him,He said I had to much(ya rite) took it,I went to complain,,HE NEVER TURNED IT IN!! "To protect n Serve,and be Hippacretes! They say crime rate has gone - up, I say Baloney! Maybe in slow motion.. like Brenda said "Hail to the Schools,the kids are ruining for us anyways their Mommy's get cards for these kids, and Their the ones taken attvantage of the clinics. I'm mad this is an ongoing problem and its lame..Get Rid of the Heroin in the schools! Now that's an Idea.help the kids, get cool Ppl to come in and give there Testamonys.we have mayor Moro all around us. Start using THESE KIDS IN OUR SCHOOLS! After all Kids look at Cool! :) Someone needs to make the cops cookies,so they can see how hello cannabis is...
colleen January 11, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Major Moto's. Kids like Cool! Not mayor Moro's
robert January 11, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I don't smoke bud, however I believe that in some case it should be legal. I wish that law inforcement focus on some more pressing issues i.e DUI's etc.
Beau January 11, 2012 at 07:13 PM
HAHAHA... I think Colleen was high when she wrote this. You can barely understand what she's saying it’s so sporadic and random. Wow. Smoke away stoners... the majority of us could care less either way. Cops wasting money... not an argument. It’s illegal to sell here so they enforce the law. Whether or not you agree with the law in the first place that’s another article to comment on.
ralph January 11, 2012 at 09:02 PM
its a shame there are still so many hateful people, police & goverment, that force their own idealologies and morals condemming marijuana use when state laws have been made to allow some use of this drug. obviously these laws need to be more specific so that cities and counties MUST comply with state law. and lets face reality folks, marijuana is such as a rediculuosly harmless drug unless you consider laughter and munchies a crime! just abide by the state LAW, let the clinics operate the way the LAW allows them, and lets move on to something important.......jesus christ!
Beau January 11, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Ralph... your argument has a major flaw buddy. What about the federal LAW? Let’s just substitute Federal for State in your closing line... "just abide by the 'FEDERAL' LAW, let the clinics operate the way the LAW allows them, and let’s move on to something important.......[some of man and savior to people]!" What laws should we follow then? (just stirring the pot people... relax)
Megan Batson January 11, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I don't see anything with them reopening at all!! I am not a bud smoker, but I am not against it, I think the cops and the city like to waste there time!!! And it looks to me like they are being low key to me, I would of never of known that they were there in tell I came on here and seen this!! But I don't care, I hope they get to stay open!!!
ralph January 11, 2012 at 10:08 PM
beau.....that is true but there are many state laws and regulations from every state that does not conform to federal laws. typically the feds never get involved in laws at the state level, the government allows the states some latitude in self governing without interferrence.....as it should be. we have regan to thank for this stupid "war on drugs" campaign hangover......right is right, wrong is wrong.......marijuana should be legal and taken off any "dangerous" drug list . . . .period
Brenda January 11, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Thank you Colleen. I know how difficult it is living with disability for a long time as do alot of us here reading the Patch. Disability has affected my typing which I took pride in. Used to do 120wpm, no errors with long nails, LOL, now I am all over the place, so don't worry about your typing and correcting :) Sounds like you have suffered for many many years. Mike no you are not, I feel the same way except for horribly higher taxes, LOL. We need to lower them on everything first across the board and THEN raise a few HIGH. Cannibal perfect facts laid out there for us and agreed upon. It is ridiculous everything we have done and will continue to do because of terrorism/Iraq/Afghanistan, to give them some kind of living conditions, medical, schooling, freedom, their oil, their poppies, they continue to kill us, as we continue to keep feeding them more and more money. When we cannot feed our own. Ralph you are right, that has been my feelings for a long time. Make it one understandable law, Fed, State, County, City, so that there is no confusion with anyone who is sent to enforce the growing, distribution and sales of marijuana. Set the guidelines as to who qualifies by their diagnosis, and then leave it alone unless there is a violation. I wonder if there was this huge cluster of misunderstanding when Alcohol became legal? Oh wait, it was never illegal but kills more people then....someone shoot us some percentages :) Stir Beau, its your opinion.
Fauntleroy Murphy January 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Wow, Ralphs comments have got to be the most ignorant statement in the history of blogging! "its a shame there are still so many hateful people, police & goverment, that force their own idealologies and morals condemming marijuana use when state laws have been made to allow some use of this drug. We pay the police and government to enforce and create laws! Marijuana use is illegally at the Federal level, no state law is able to trump Federal law! All you whiners need to work toghether to legalize marijuana at the Federal level. BTW, City law states their is a moritorium on dispenciaries within the city so it's also illegal at the city level. Make it legal at the Federal level, State level and City level...then you won't need to whine. (I don't care if it's legalized, I'm just happy we are enforce our laws.)
Brenda January 12, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I think most of us are pretty much saying the same thing here Faunt. Get the laws straight on Fed, State and City so its clear what is being enforced and what is not, so we are not wasting any law enforcements time, and let people get their cards, smoke their pot and get some relief from pain and other ailments.
LetFreedomRing January 12, 2012 at 02:58 AM
This is so ridiculous. Stoners will get their hands on weed, legal or not. Stupid pigs...."traffic stops conducted...for violations separate from the dispensary." What a joke.
John Q Public January 12, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Yeah, damn those pigs for doing their job and and enforcing the law which they are required to do!!!! While those traffic stops probably had an alternative motive, they can still stop someone leaving a dispensary if they have tinted windows or some other stupid violation. It is what it is and unless laws change, they will continue to enforce the law, maybe we should call the law makers pigs because they are the ones that give cops the right to stop you. Throw out the laws and the cops cant stop you, simple as that. In fact lets just live in anarchy, no pigs, no laws, you have something I want, I take you out and take it, I like that.....stupid
LetFreedomRing January 12, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Exactly what you mentioned, "While those traffic stops probably had an alternative motive..." That was the exact point of my comment. Don't get all flustered talking about laws and anarchy, dude. This stoner could give two shits about what you have to say about pigs. "Oink, Oink!" Copy. Over. Roger that!!
ralph January 12, 2012 at 09:48 PM
wow, seems to be a lot of anger on this forum and disrespectful criticism directed at each other. there are two groups of people on this site....1) those who are in favor of legal marijuanna, whether they use it or not, and feel an enormous amount of time, money and energy is wasted to defend and enforce a bad law that needs to be changed.........2) those that want marijuana to stay illegal and some of you defend the bad behavior of police and government officials. I like police officers, most are good people and they have a tough job and should be treated with respect.......if you guys met in person to talk, fist would be flying in about 5 minutes!
John Q Public January 13, 2012 at 12:28 AM
And a person with all his brain cells could care less what stoners say, and I could care less what you say about pigs.....and besides we all know stoners never amount to anything except moving back in with their parents, or sleeping on someones couch or in their garage. And their is a reason why this law will never pass, stoners have no drive or ambition to stand up for something they want, maybe you should get some drive you lame d*cks.
Brenda January 13, 2012 at 01:22 AM
LOL Ralph, I don't think anyone was saying anything from anger, or disrespectful to officers. I think its more joking and also supporting in the fact that Police DO INDEED have better things to do then pull over people for Marijuana over unclear, hazy law(s).(This of course having to do with co-ops and card carriers only etc). We all respect police officers, as they do their best to protect us every day. Its the laws over the medical marijuana is all, as in get everyone on the same page and its done. I think we all agree its ok, just get the writing RIGHT. Its only making some people alot of money to fight it for each side when we could have our policing forces working on issues that are issues day to day in this Southwest area of Riverside County. Most of us know that at roll call each officer/car is given duties for when they are not on a call. We know that one highway patrol can be told to park himself on the overramp of Winchester/ 15 freeway writing tickets between 3pm and 6pm to people turning right out of the mall when its not permitted during those hours. Know what I am talking about? LOL So no one knows for sure if an officer is posted somewhere outside the co-op looking for any reason to pull you over, and if he is, so what, don't give him a reason right? Those tail lights should be working anyway.! If and when these laws get on the same table showing, "the card" to validate it will be like showing our Drivers License.
LetFreedomRing January 13, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Wow, John, you are so right on!! You are pretty ignorant if you don't believe that there are many respectable stoners out there with fantastic jobs, like doctors, lawyers, and pigs...to name a few. Also, I believe the third "their" that you used should actually be "there". You're welcome.
LetFreedomRing January 13, 2012 at 01:29 AM
I agree, Brenda. :)
Brenda January 13, 2012 at 02:08 AM
John? How mean and hateful aweful names. I know people with medical cards and who use marijuana as needed. The most important is to be able to eat food when a good portion of stomach has been removed to cancer or Crohns, lack of appetite, or pain to eat with ulcers from medications. I will address your impression of the people that use medical marijuana. I will be vague on most of these as some people feel its a private matter, as it is. I do not go running around listing off all the medications I take at my age!. TWo professors with all the AA's, BA's, MA's, Msa's, PHD's in Los Angeles area, and at very large universities, and one at a medical teaching college. A high ranking Coca Cola company officer. A physicians assistant. A college student. A doctor now medically retired who did not believe in it before he got so ill. 3 lawyers off and on. A few I do not believe work, they are obviously disabled, I didnt ask and they didnt offer but they didnt look like they would rob me. One man, very attractive at one time, large man, in a full service wheelchair/support, hands, arms and legs drawing up, has two aids with him, his head had been severely damaged. I did not ask, how, why. Very sad prognosis, however, as he gets smaller each time I see him. God Bless all of these people who do what they have to to continue to live and enjoy their families and their life the best they can. John there are groups you can go to and get educated, give one a try one time :)
JJ Mclure January 13, 2012 at 02:30 PM
if you had to smoke it at your DR's office most people would pass.....they just wanna get high......who cares what stoners think.
JJ Mclure January 13, 2012 at 02:31 PM
don't call 911 if you think they are pigs
Beau January 13, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Brenda... Alcohol was never illegal? Really? Did you skip that section in history class? How about prohibition from 1920-1933?
Andy January 14, 2012 at 04:26 AM
I welcome this establishment. Patients need to get their medical marijuana from somewhere. Trying to ban dispensaries is a joke... the only other option for patients to obtain medical marijuana is the black market. Also, don't the police have better things to do?

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