WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 11-17, 2012)

HEALTH CARE

Some Southern California ‘nonprofit’ pot shops make big money; Documents show a cash-infused retail world bearing little resemblance to the one pitched to voters for the 1996 Compassionate Use Act for ‘seriously ill Californians.’” By Joe Mozingo. Los Angeles Times. June 17, 2012. In the first raid, Orange County sheriff’s detectives hit a Dana Point marijuana storefront, the San Clemente home of its director and a “stash house” he allegedly maintained nearby. At the shop, investigators found spreadsheets showing sales over 10 months totaled $3.17 million, according to the affidavit, with $2.47 million “cash on hand.” Paperwork indicated that a silent partner, a convicted drug dealer named John M. Walker, controlled the shop and six others in Orange and Los Angeles counties. The discoveries and many others like them across California are starkly at odds with the image presented by medical marijuana providers, who label themselves as “compassionate caregivers” and say they work on slim margins, give away cannabis to the poor and comply with the law. Many medical marijuana dispensaries have been making huge sums of money even as they claim to be nonprofit, according to court and law enforcement records, industry insiders, police and federal agents. The Times found a cash-infused retail world unlike the one pitched to voters who passed the Compassionate Use Act for “seriously ill Californians” in 1996.

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