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Arrest Warrant Issued For Fresno Pot Shop Owner
by Toke of the Town (repost)
Thursday Feb 4th, 2010 10:08 PM
Medmar Clinic was the first medical marijuana dispensary in Fresno. After the city last year filed a suit to close it down, along with seven other city dispensaries, Medmar refused to cease operation when the other six shut their doors.
medmar.jpg
medmar.jpg

An arrest warrant has been issued for the owner of a Fresno, California medical marijuana dispensary.

Rick Morse, who owns the Medmar Clinic in Fresno's Tower District, is accused of illegally running the dispensary, reports Alicia Coates of CBS47.tv.

Morse's contempt of court arraignment was Wednesday but he didn't show, resulting in the court issuing a felony warrant for his arrest.

Surprisingly, local TV station CBS47 found Morse at his Medmar clinic Wednesday night, and he didn't seem overly worried about the warrant.

"I would rather go by my constitution than what some void order says," Morse told CBS47.

​"I would say it's an invalid warrant," said Morse, who is accused of illegally operating his dispensary despite a city zoning law which banned pot shops.

Morse argues he is following his constitutional right to sell marijuana in California under the state's medical marijuana law, passed by voters in 1996 and expanded by the Legislature in 2003.

Medmar Clinic was the first medical marijuana dispensary in Fresno. After the city last year filed a suit to close it down, along with seven other city dispensaries, Medmar refused to cease operation when the other six shut their doors.

Morse won a temporary victory in August when Judge Alan Simpson ruled that Medmar "did not appear to pose an immediate threat to public safety."

Deputy City Attorney Charlotte Konczal, who seems to be confused about the difference between federal and municipal government, had asked the judge to issue an emergency restraining order to close Medmar.

Konczal, who huffily noted that federal drug laws prohibit marijuana, indignantly told Fresno TV station ABC30 at the time, "We had two undercover officers actually purchase marijuana in an illegal manner, so we feel that is sufficient enough to show there's illegal activity at this particular dispensary."

Wait, what? They bought pot at a pot dispensary?? Horrors!

City officials say that zoning ordinances require all businesses to follow state and local laws -- and federal still still bans marijuana use for any purpose.

Morse says he'll fight for what he believes is right until officers lead him away in handcuffs.

"We are appearing before the city council tomorrow [Thursday] morning at 8:30 a.m. to explain to them and try and get a resolution of reconciliation to this problem before it blows up in their face," Morse said.

Police said Morse would likely leave the council meeting Thursday in handcuffs.

The judge could jail Morse for a year, as well as imposing a fine.