Marijuana dispensary operates against City ordinance
BARSTOW • The 816 Green Care Cannabis Collective of California is easily missed among a row of businesses on Williams Street.
The discreet medical marijuana dispensary is the only one in town and opened in January, according to one of its patients, Dondi Zamora.
The Barstow Police Department along with City Code Enforcement officials initiated separate investigations of the dispensary last week, according to Police Chief Albert Ramirez. He said police officials were investigating any violation of state or federal laws while code enforcement was investigating violations to city ordinances.
The City of Barstow adopted an ordinance in 2011 prohibiting medial marijuana dispensaries or “any other facility which involves the distribution of drugs or other substances that are illegal under state or federal law.” City spokesman Anthony Riley said the business is in violation of the City’s ordinance and the property owner has been notified.
“If the City becomes aware of any dispensaries, we will investigate and take the appropriate action as required,” City Manager Curt Mitchell said in a statement.
Dispensary employees said they did not want to be included in an article.
Zamora said before the dispensary opened he traveled to Victorville or Hesperia two to three times a week to refill his prescription.
“There’s a lot of medical marijuana patients in Barstow,” Zamora said. “Everybody has their opinion on it, but I think there are a lot of medicinal uses for it and there are a lot of doctors giving prescriptions.”
He said he was prescribed the drug a year ago for arthritis and back cramps.
Under California state law patients and their primary caregivers are protected from criminal prosecution for personal possession and cultivation of marijuana, but not distribution, based on Proposition 215 the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
In early February the State Supreme Court heard arguments on whether municipal governments can ban retail pot dispensaries. Californians support the sale of marijuana in the state by a 5-4 margin, according to a recent Field Poll conducted by the independent and non-partisan Field Research Corporation.
Contact Brooke Self at (760) 256-4123 or BSelf@DesertDispatch.com.