Wednesday Jul 11 2012
Feds move to close marijuana dispensary
By: Nancy Hagman, Colfax Record Correspondent
Distribution of pot in violation of federal laws, U.S. attorney says
The federal government has taken action to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act in Colfax. Last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin C. Khasigian, head of the Eastern District of California of the Department of Justice, sent a certified letter to longtime Colfax property owner Gilbert Dalpino. Dalpino owns the property and leases out the building, located on Highway 174, which houses the Golden State Patient Care Collective, or GSPCC. According to Robert Miller, of the Placer County public information office, the GSPCC is the sole medical marijuana dispensary in the county. In the letter, provided to the Colfax Record by Dalpino?s daughter Nicolette Dalpino ? who manages the family property in town ? Khasigian advises Dalpino that the distribution of marijuana is in violation of federal law. The letter also states that the continued use of the property in such violation ?may result in forfeiture and criminal or civil penalties.? It advises that Dalpino consult an attorney regarding the letter. Khasigian?s letter concludes saying that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will vigorously enforce the prohibitions against the distribution of marijuana, even if such activities are permitted by state law and that ?those who allow their property to be used for such activities do so at their peril.? Nicolette Dalpino said her father ? who lives in Corte Madera ? is investigating his options, which he feels is everything from doing nothing to giving the tenants notice to move. The GSPCC opened over eight years ago, with approval from the city as a medical marijuana distribution cooperative. A 2009 city ordinance prohibited future medical marijuana dispensaries. Clients must have certification of identification and prescription to even be allowed in the door of the facility. The collective pays city license fees and all the products have sales tax levied. The facility employs nine people. The GSPCC owners declined to make a statement at this time as they have not received formal communication from Dalpino. They prefer to investigate their options before making any comment. Sgt. Ty Conners said the GSPCC has been free of incidents since he took command of the sheriff?s substation in Colfax last December. ?There have been no service calls to the property since I started my watch and there has been no indication, so far, that action from other agencies may be forthcoming,? Conners said. He did point out that future follow through by the DOJ could certainly occur. Closure of the ?state legal? GSPCC, according to City manager, Bruce Kranz would be the ?same as the loss of any small business ? loss of revenue to the city.? Councilwoman Suzanne Roberts said she would not have voted for the business to be allowed in the first place, saying, ?We have to abide by federal law; it trumps state law.? No further comment was available from Khasigian?s office. Mary Wenger, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney?s office in Sacramento, said, ?Because it is an ongoing investigation we cannot comment.? She did emphasize, however, that the action is not just statewide, but a nationwide effort to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.