Medical pot delivery bust denounced
January 10, 2013
A driver for a patients’ medical marijuana collective was arrested last week in Oceano after his vehicle was stopped by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies, reportedly for having a cracked windshield.
Following a search of his vehicle, Chance Simmons was taken into custody at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, and booked into County Jail on charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of concentrated cannabis.
Simmons works for Ethnobotanica Patients Collective, which has been around since 2007, longer than any other medical cannabis collective in San Luis Obispo County, according to Ryan Booker, its executive.
Booker said Simmons was engaged in lawful activity at the time of his arrest, delivering physician-recommended cannabis to some of the collective’s 1,000 patients.
Commander Aaron Nix of the sheriff’s department said the case remains under investigation and declined further comment.
“This arrest comes almost exactly two years since the now-defunct narcotics task force executed ‘Operation Green Sweep,’” Booker said. “That resulted in 12 arrests related to medical cannabis collectives, and wasted millions in taxpayer dollars. All twelve cases were later dismissed.”
The Ethnobotanica collective operates as a not-for-profit per state law, has all necessary licensing and documentation including incorporation with the state, and pays all applicable local, state, and federal taxes, Booker said.
“The passage of the Medical Marijuana Program Act in 2003 exempted medical cannabis collectives and collective members from criminal sanctions under California Health and Safety Code 11357 and 11359,” Booker said. “I hope that in the future, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, as well as all other local law enforcement agencies, will respect the will of California voters and rights of San Luis Obispo County residents to collectively use medical cannabis in accordance with state law.”