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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Central Valley | Drug War | Government & Elections | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Shut Down in Fresno
The last medical marijuana dispensary in the City of Fresno was closed today. Below is a 3 minute audio report about what happened.
This morning, police arrested Rick Morse, the owner of Med Mar, the last medical marijuana dispensary in the City of Fresno. Morse was arrested for violating a court order, which closed about one dozen dispensaries in January.
The City of Fresno’s ordinance on medical marijuana dispensaries severely restricts their ability to operate legally. The ordinance says that dispensaries must comply with both state and federal law. Medical marijuana is legal under state law, but illegal under federal statutes. In January a judge issued a preliminary injunction, closing the dispensaries until the issue could be heard in court.
All but one dispensary, Med Mar, shut down. Med Mar owner Rick Morse explained why: “It appears there is some confusion in the ordinance. It says medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed as long as they comply with state and federal law. I assert that we are complying with state and federal law.”
Morse’s son Brandon spoke to the media about his fathers arrest. He said “This morning my father was illegally arrested by the City of Fresno. They executed an unconstitutionally void warrant for his arrest. Today, my father peacefully went with the authorities and as of 12 Noon he has started a fast for justice. I have joined him in this fast and we are asking people from across the city to prey for him.”
I spoke with several medical marijuana patients outside Med Mar who spoke about the arrest. The first person preferred to remain anonymous. He said “as soon as they close that it affects everyone that needs medical cannabis. It’s not just me, you’ve got thousands of people in Fresno now. Who are they hurting? Their hurting people that have legitimate medical reasons for this. They are saying there agenda is more important than a medical agenda? We are not breaking any laws. They are
the ones that are breaking the law. They shouldn’t be arresting him.”
A second medical marijuana patient outside Med Mar had this to say: “this makes it to where people that are sick, that have been proven to be sick by their doctors, they can’t get their medicine. So, how does that help the City of Fresno, keeping people that are sick and that are in pain from getting their medicine?”
Brandon Morse, speaking for his father who is in the Fresno County Jail on a no bail misdemeanor, said that they have closed Med Mar for the day. He said medical marijuana patients in Fresno now have few options. “For the patients that are non ambulatory and don’t have the means to travel, their options are very limited. Most of them have been forced to the black market as opposed to a non profit where they can obtain their medication,” Morse said.
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Rick Morse, the owner of the Med Mar medical marijuana dispensary in Fresno, was arraigned in Fresno County Superior Court today (Wednesday, February 10). Judge Donald Franson set bail at $5,000, and Morse was released from jail at about 5 p.m.. Both Morse and his son Brandon are on a fast that they say will end when justice is served.
Brandon Morse said “I’m going to continue the fast until justice is resumed. The fact that the judge has allowed me to post bail is a good first step.”
Rick Morse was arrested yesterday for contempt of court charges when he refused to close Med Mar, the last remaining medical marijuana dispensary in Fresno. Judge Franson warned Morse that if he did not keep his store closed, he faces 5 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for every day the business is open.
The case will resume in Fresno Superior Court on February 17 at 8:30 a.m. in judge Franson’s courtroom.