Cannabis Clinic Shuts Down After DOJ Warning Letter – January 3, 2012

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

ARCATA – Arcata's Humboldt Medical Supply (HMS) cannabis center closed yesterday following receipt of a warning letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

The letter, apparently sent in early December, was sent to HMS's landlord, Danco Group and the bank which hold the loan for financing the property, which is the former P.C. Sacchi Chevrolet dealership located next to the Arcata Post Office, according to a source who has seen it.

The letter reportedly notes HMS's proximity to the Arcata Ball Park, stating that it is close to what it suggests is a "playground."

The letter was also sent to the owners of the building that hosts the Sai Center at Ninth and I streets, which is involved in a regulatory standoff with the City of Arcata. Sai Center operator Steven Gasparas has traditionally ignored warnings from authorities. His shop remains open despite the DOJ letter and denial of a Conditional Use Permit by the City.

The DOJ letter reportedly warns of both imprisonment and asset forfeiture if the centers remain open. It is not known whether Arcata's two other cannabis centers, Humboldt Patient Resource Center and The Humboldt Cooperative have received the letter. Those centers are located slightly farther away from the Ball Park, in the old Isackson Ford building at Seventh and I streets.


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  1. ken said:

    This was a real hit for my older brother who lives in humbolt county.he is a Vietnam vet who sustained a catastrophic injury in 1994.he was recieving one ounce of cannibas per month free.his pain is remarkably lessened by the cannibas,and now no longer gets the cannibas because the dispensery closed due to a bunch of crap.I believe it was HMS.does anyone no if any of the other dispenseries are helping patients like my brother? Thanks. Ken

  2. LindaAnne said:

    Since the landlord was unwilling to take the risk and/or continue the lease, HMS had no choice except to shut down.

  3. Chris said:

    Does the Arcata Ball Park which serves alcohol in season and when the park is rented, may obtain a permit to serve alcohol qualify as a Children’s Playground? Has anyone bothered to look up the definition that the U.S. Congress Provided under the Controlled Substances Act? It looks like what D.O.J. can’t do legally they can do by making up their own definitions. I wonder if H.M.S. even bothered to look this up.

    (e) Definitions
    For the purposes of this section –
    (1) The term “playground” means any outdoor facility (including
    any parking lot appurtenant thereto) intended for recreation,
    open to the public, and with any portion thereof containing three
    or more separate apparatus intended for the recreation of
    children including, but not limited to, sliding boards,
    swingsets, and teeterboards.

  4. Valerie said:

    Thanks Ian. In the 1099 situation, many people wanted to sell their product but not have it reported, back in my time, and would choose to sell under the required reporting limit. This would greatly alter the sales reports if one was to go off 1099s alone. And when has “Sai” ever been known to do anything voluntarily?

  5. Ian Ray said:

    Valerie, the only instance I’ve googled where patient records were seized and used as evidence against a cannabis business was the 2001 Fry/Schafer raid. It has been reported several times that 1099 forms are now routinely submitted by these businesses which would suggest that there is no need for federal agencies to seize further records as evidence. The recent audit of the large permitted Oakland business would be an example of using voluntarily disclosed information instead of relying on records seized in police raids.

  6. Valerie said:

    Since HMS complied, their records were not compromised. Does that imply that if the other one that received a notice to close does not comply their records could be in the hands of DOJ?

  7. Ian Ray said:

    In other news, San Jose is likely to have a ballot measure to rescind local cannabis club regulations.

    If it passes, this ballot measure may be the correct decision for the people of San Jose. Lake County recently rescinded regulations through a signature-gathering process which indicates San Jose may not require a vote.

  8. Pingback: Cannabis Clinic Shuts Down After DOJ Warning Letter… Developing | Pacific Progress

  9. Black Flag said:

    Who cares? If I were Kevin, thoughts of being blamed for this through my writings would be passing through my mind. Regardless, anyone with a brain knows Kevin didn’t bring the feds down on Cana-Culture- but how many dope smokers have a brain?
    Only a tsunami can bring the change that Humboldt needs so badly. Once Arcata was a nice place to live in a time before 707 hats and those silly humboldt tree shirts all the hipsters wear.
    My bet is the feds will treat Arcata like they did Fallujah and shake and bake the neo-hippies into compliance before they install Kevin as Mayor.

    Agnostic Front said it during the Reagan Occupation:

    Time will come when we will pay
    There’ll be no choice for you to take
    World War III won’t be a fake
    You just can’t look the other way

    Time will come and time will go
    You’ll learn to live and learn to fight
    You’ll fight for freedom and fight to die
    But you’ll never know the reason why
    Killing people for their greediness
    But unaware of the evilness
    Once you’re dead there’ll be no sorrow
    Another one will come to follow

  10. Deepelum said:

    Yeah, that Sai Center…the door swings open and shut all day. The city denied the permit months ago but he just keeps selling weed on that busy corner with ads on the windows. Arcata City Council deserves no respect for allowing that to happen. He shows just how toothless they are. I don’t like him but it’s kinda funny how he just does it openly, and his landlord too…Makes you think you would be a fool to follow the law in this town and make less money. Why? Why get a permit?

  11. Scott Ohman said:

    The Feds gave the property owner a “timeline for compliance,” i.e. shutting down the clinic that was renting their building. Since the Feds have said that any state or local Government that allows clinics could be prosecuted, couldn’t the Feds who sent the letter be prosecuted, as they explicitly allowed the clinic to remain open for a period of time?

  12. suki said:

    Unfortuantely this is an election year otherwise obama would probably not be going against state law with out dated federal mandates that relate to medical cannabis and hemp products in general. It also allows his rivals to pick on other agenda items. We the people (our govenment has forgotten this slogan) feel the politics of power and oppression everyday and unfortuantely even more so when it is election time. Once again a forum for political mistrust is re-created but then what else is new. Got leadership?

  13. Humboldt Rick said:

    The DOJ and its attorneys are fascist, anti-American TRAITORS and WILL be treated as such. That includes you, hag Haag.

  14. Valerie said:

    That’s a shame. Hms was one of the leaders of following the rules during the process of permitting etc. That is the last dispensary I thought would shut down.

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