Teamsters Decry Shutdown of L.A. Cannabis Facility With Union Ties

Dubious Police Raid of THC Design Results in Loss of 50 Good-Paying Jobs

By Kristin Heidelbach

CALIFORNIA:  A cannabis cultivator who just last week reached a labor peace agreement with Teamsters Joint Council 42 for the right to organize some 150 employees at his three facilities in the city has been forced to shut down one location after a police raid resulted in a nearly $2 million loss for the company.

Police, alleging THC Design was stealing power to grow marijuana on-site, entered the building and seized the plants even though the company was compliant with state law. As a result of the lost product, the company announced it will need to shutter the facility, putting about 50 employees out of work. Since April, the company has been raided twice by authorities.

“This business owner has been doing everything he has to under the law,” said Kristin Heidelbach, a Teamsters international representative and Director of the Cannabis Division for Joint Councils 7 and 42. “They are finding ridiculous reasons to go in and do this.”

Questionable raids of cannabis facilities in Los Angeles and across the state are nothing new. Due to numerous changes in regulations, companies are often found to be in violation of the law. The Teamsters, who have signed multiple agreements with cannabis-related companies in California, have repeatedly lobbied on behalf of the industry.

“These companies are helping people and healing people,” Heidelbach said. “We are supporting a very legitimate industry.”

Ryan Jennemann, THC Design’s lead consultant, said he was grateful for the union’s efforts. “I would like to thank the Teamsters for standing up for workers in this burgeoning industry who are being hurt by raids like these that take away good-paying jobs which benefit not only them, but the economy as a whole,” he said. “Businesses that are following the law should not be harassed just because they are part of the cannabis industry.”


State Supreme Court Rules For And Against Medical Pot

MICHIGAN:  For the ninth time, the Michigan Supreme Court has weighed in on the state’s medical marijuana law, remanding a pair of cases back to Oakland County Circuit Court to have another hearing on whether two men can claim immunity from prosecution for growing and providing weed to people with medical marijuana cards.

Richard Hartwick and Robert Tuttle were charged in 2011 and 2012, respectively, after police raided their homes and found marijuana and plants. Both men had been certified as medical marijuana users, and Hartwick also was certified as a caregiver, growing and selling marijuana to five other people. Tuttle was charged with selling marijuana to three people, but it was unclear if he was a certified caregiver.

In pre-trial motions, both men claimed they should be immune from prosecution because of their medical marijuana user and caregiver status. And they both wanted to assert such a defense. Oakland County Judges Colleen O’Brien and Michael Warren denied the motions for both men, and their decisions were upheld by the state Court of Appeals when attorneys for the two men appealed the rulings.

The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that the Oakland judges must hold hearings on the immunity motion. The high court said that the lower court ruling on what type of information a caregiver needed to have before providing marijuana to a patient — such as proof of the doctor-patient relationship and the nature of the patient’s debilitating condition — isn’t a part of the medical marijuana law.


Raid At Colorado Pot Club Raises Questions

COLORADO:  A police raid at an Amsterdam-style cannabis lounge in Denver has triggered a debate over where adults can smoke pot in a state that allows recreational marijuana consumption – but not in public.

Denver police showed up last week at Maryjane’s Social Club, one of dozens of private pot-smoking clubs in Colorado operating in a legal gray area. The officers handcuffed smokers, seized drug paraphernalia and ticketed the club’s owner for violating state law banning indoor cigarette smoking. Three people were cited for smoking in public.

Colorado law prohibits recreational pot consumption “openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others.” And state lawmakers say that smoke-free laws also appear to ban indoor pot smoke-outs.

But marijuana advocates argue the increasingly popular private pot dens are permissible because marijuana isn’t sold, nor is food or drink. Like Maryjane’s, the clubs are only for members, who bring their own weed.



Texas Cops Raid Organic Farm for Marijuana with Massive SWAT Team, Only Find Tomatoes

TEXAS: A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action last week that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search.

Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. [Read more…]