Medical marijuana patients may soon be able to purchase their medicine 24/7, courtesy of a new form of vending machine that works similar to an ATM.
Aliso Viejo-based Dispense Labs plans to lease the state-of-the-art machines to dispensaries. The Autospense devices would be housed in metal cages and located at the dispensary sites for after-hours use. Patients would swipe dispensary-issued registration cards and enter PIN numbers to open the cages and access the machines.
The vending machines would be leased for $1,500 to $2,000 per month, according to news reports. Dispense Labs says at least one machine is already in use, at a dispensary in Santa Ana.
Activists Grumbine and Byron granted new trial
Saying she was “appalled” at the judicial misconduct rampant in the proceedings leading to the convictions of two Southern California medical marijuana activists, a Long Beach Superior Court judge has ordered the men be given a new trial.
Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron, former operators of three Southland cannabis dispensaries, were convicted in December in a Long Beach courtroom of marijuana sales and other felony counts. Throughout the pair’s trial, courtroom observers repeatedly cried foul over the alleged bias of the presiding judge, Charles D. Sheldon. Those allegations were given weight by Sheldon himself when he recused himself from the sentencing portion of the trial after admitting to improperly congratulating prosecutors on their win.
But according to Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani, who reviewed the case at the request of the defense, the incident was just one of Sheldon’s many acts of misconduct in what she described as a “terrible, terrible, terrible trial.” She pointed to instances of the judge ignoring motions, allowing evidence entered into the record without review and failing to give the defense adequate time to prepare their case.
Grumbine and Byron are due back in court May 8. No date has been set for their new trial.
Dispensary files $3 million harassment suit against Murrieta
Claiming that police in Murrieta are harassing patients, the owners of a medical cannabis club are suing the city for $3 million and an end to its moratorium on dispensaries.
The lawsuit alleges Murrieta police routinely detained members of the Greenhouse Cannabis Club as they left the dispensary and asked harassing questions about their medical conditions. In one instance described in the suit, police officers followed a patient from the dispensary to a grocery store, where they publicly interrogated her about whether she was qualified to obtain cannabis.
Greenhouse has been a frequent target of city and federal officials. Last summer, attorneys for the city sought a court order for the dispensary to shut down. The judge rejected the request, but ordered the club to serve only two patients. That action was followed by a DEA raid on the facility in March and an eviction order by a judge last month.