Azdailysun.com: “Saying their 5-year-old child’s life may depend on it, a Mesa couple has sued to demand legal access to extracts of marijuana for him. Jacob and Jennifer Welton say Zander said the only thing that has helped control “numerous active seizures” in the child, who has birth defects that have affected development of his brain has been a mixture of chemicals from marijuana made in part from a hemp extract. They also said the drug combination they were using also has aided in addressing Zander’s autism and physical development.”
Tucson Weekly: “Now Mr. Humble is hard at work adjusting and tinkering with and apparently improving the AMMA rules, figuring out nuances of law that mostly affect dispensary operators but which could also benefit you and me directly. . . . a judge recently ruled that the timeline for dispensary owners to get approval to operate was unfair, because of delays forced by Chief Finger-Wagger Jan, so the state had to rewrite those rules. From there, Humble decided to nip and tuck a couple other rules.”
Verde Independent: “Nick Vanderhorst’s medication cost him $56 at Cottonwood’s first medical marijuana dispensary, Yavapai Herbal Services. . . . Gilliam said the dispensary is owned by a couple from Missouri with two young children. Their application was randomly chosen by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Cottonwood is their second location, with their first facility in Prescott, and has registered about 1,000 patients since opening in mid-August. It is located at 675 Ariz. 89A.”
Times-Herald: “The owners of a former Vallejo medical marijuana dispensary raided by police last year are suing the city for alleged abuse of power, excessive force and retaliation. Plaintiffs Daniel and Rhonda Chadwick operated Homegrown Holistic Cooperative, Inc. at 215 Tennessee St., which shut down after being raided by police on Aug. 10, 2012. It was one of at least six dispensaries raided by police last year; however, all of the cases fell apart because, lawyers argued, police didn’t understand California law.
Forbes: “When Congress banned marijuana in 1937, it did so in the guise of taxation, imposing a prohibitive levy on cannabis and created criminal penalties for those who failed to pay it. Marijuana taxes also played a prominent role in what may be the beginning of the end for pot prohibition: the legalization measures that voters in Colorado and Washington approved last fall . . . . The dilemma is especially clear in Washington, where I-502 specified a 25 percent excise tax at three levels: sales between producers and processors, between processors and retailers, and between retailers and consumers. That’s in addition to the standard state sales tax of 8.75 percent.”
If you are a Medbox, Inc., stockholder or considering purchasing stock Medbox is offering in its current public offering you must read the three stories listed below.
After an extensive investigation, the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation published a blockbuster story about publicly traded Medbox and its front man Pejman “Vincent” Mehdizadeh, “a 34-year-old with a consistent record of legal problems going back to age 18, only one of which was disclosed to investors.” Here are some choice statements from the story entitled “Tinkerer, Lawyer, Hustler, Lies: One Man’s Path to a Dope Fortune“:
“In the spring of 2010, exasperated police detectives from all over Los Angeles began phoning the county’s consumer affairs department to complain that an outfit calling itself the Active Lawyers Referral Service had misled its working-class customers from 2005 to 2008 by referring them to a law firm that billed them for work—but never finished the job. Their tales got positively woolly: Several claimed that Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh, the founder of the referral service and the manager of the law firm, had posed as a lawyer and his father, Parviz, had given them legal advice as they sought work visas. (Pejman and Parviz use the names Vincent and Paul, respectively, for business.)
Three years later the consumer affairs unit, along with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, sought to prosecute Vincent Mehdizadeh, who, after months of wrangling, pleaded no contest to various criminal charges. He consented to pay $450,000 in restitution to his victims, thereby avoiding a four-year sentence in a California state penitentiary. (His father, Parviz, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor charge.) . . .
Running his own dispensary business had proved to be a profound headache for Mehdizadeh: In 2007 the Drug Enforcement Agency raided Herbal Nutrition Center, his dispensary; and a lawsuit resulted from another dispensary transaction in which he was accused of posing as a lawyer and a real estate agent at different times. (Mehdizadeh told the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation that he paid $350,000 to the plaintiffs to settle the matter and “make it go away.”) . . .
Mehdizadeh’s many legal problems have never been disclosed to Medbox investors—except for a 2007 incident when he failed to produce a clear title to a car he was selling yet accepted a credit card payment for the vehicle anyway. The consumer affairs investigation, which had been headed for trial with the possibility of prison time for Mehdizadeh before he pleaded no contest, was blithely waved away in a Medbox filing as “a private matter.”
Read the whole troubling story. One thing the story did not mention was whether there is a single medical marijuana vending machine actually used in daily operations of a medical marijuana dispensary in any of the states that have legalized medical marijuana. If you know of an operating Mebox medical marijuana vending machine please let me know the location and name of the dispensary.
See also Yahoo Finance’s story entitled “Medbox: Emerging Marijuana Player, or Disaster Waiting to Happen?” that contains these statements:
“What the foundation reports ought to give investors ample pause before hopping on the erstwhile legal pot gravy train stock promoters are touting. . . .
Make no mistake: What Mehdizadeh was getting rapped for is well north of a citation for drinking beer underage and serves to raise serious questions about what is known as “Fitness for Office.”
There were charges—and a series of no contest pleas–for breaking and entering, credit card fraud, solicitation of a prostitute and trespass with intent to injure.
What is even less savory is how a legal referral business Mehdizadeh ran with his dad and a job he had managing a law office in Los Angeles between 2005 and 2008 went so far off the rails that the District Attorney’s office was ready to take him to trial on consumer fraud this summer. Mehdizadeh agreed to a plea bargain that has him paying $450,000 in restitution to avoid a four-year jail sentence.
First to tell anyone that lessons aplenty have been learned and that he stopped screwing up years ago–Mehdizadeh also acknowledged posing as a lawyer without having gone to law school–the suddenly quite rich entrepreneur is laser-focused on Medbox’s future.
Which should be the real cause for concern among Medbox shareholders.”
Southcoast Today published a story called “High-profile marijuana millionaire behind multiple RMD applicants; locals cry foul” that states:
“Vincent Mehdizadeh, a West Coast marijuana millionaire with a conviction for defrauding immigrants, is backing nearly one in 10 of prospective dispensaries in the Bay State, causing some local competitors to cry foul.”
Update: Medbox issued a press release dated October 16, 2913, that addresses recent negative publicty about Vincent Mehdizadeh. The press release states:
“Company executives caution company shareholders that while the media has been extremely supportive of Medbox as one of the only viable medical marijuana related public companies, with success there will always be detractors that publish deceptive and misleading articles about the company and its executives.
‘I have witnessed a person calling himself a professional journalist resort to defamatory statements, the majority of which are in most cases half-truths and in some cases a complete fabrication of events that purportedly transpired in my life before I founded Medbox,’ stated Vincent Mehdizadeh, Chief Operations Officer of Medbox, Inc.
Mehdizadeh states that he will not be using company funds to seek legal recourse against the reporter in question.
‘I’d rather spend company funds on further developing our business,’ said Mehdizadeh. ‘I will self-fund any recourse I have planned regarding this particular journalist. When confronted, this journalist initially denied having any ties to short interest players in MDBX stock, but upon further inquiry admitted the relationships in an email. I look forward to seeing just how deep that rabbit hole goes’.”
While doing a Google search today I found a June 28, 2013, press release about the Mehdizadehs, father and son, issued by the LA County Department of Consumer Affairs that states:
“A father-and-son team who pretended to be a law firm and defrauded dozens of victims seeking immigration help have pled guilty to multiple charges of grand theft.
Brian J. Stiger, Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), has announced today that Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh and Parviz Paul Mehdizadeh were ordered to pay full restitution to victims who reported their losses to DCA.
The Mehdizadehs took money for immigration cases and either did not file or filed fraudulent documents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They are responsible for defrauding victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars while offering services in areas such as immigration, bankruptcy, divorce, and mortgage modifications, often without providing any services. Many of the Mehdizadehs’ victims were forced to leave the country because of their failure to file appropriate documents.
Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh, 34, of Los Angeles , pled to two felony grand theft counts and Parviz Paul Mehdizadeh, 78, of Calabasas, pled to one misdemeanor count. Restitution will approach a half a million dollars, not including money distributed from the State Bar of California Restitution Fund, most of which has already been collected and distributed to the known victims.
‘“Immigration consultants often tell consumer s that they have ‘special connections’ or know about secret programs to help immigrants become legal citizens,’ Director Stiger said. ‘They will say anything to gain your trust and take your money. Consumers should remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’
The Mehdizadehs also ran a lawyer referral service, under the name Active Lawyer Referral Service, and referred clients to themselves.
The prosecutors were Dana Aratani and Kathleen Tuttle of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.”
Phoenix New Times: “Phoenix police say they might bust you for holding the wrong kind of cookie. In researching this week’s cover story about marijuana food products and concentrates, ‘Half Baked,’ New Times asked police to clarify their position on the preparations of marijuana not protected by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Patients and dispensary operators won’t like the answer, though it might not surprise them.”
Here is the content of the email message Phoenix Police Sergeant Martos sent to the New Times:
“Hash oil purity:
“In order to identify marijuana we need to be able to look at plant material under the microscope and observe structures on the leaf surfaces. If someone has removed the resin from the plant material by mechanical or chemical means what we get is hashish, hash oil or cannabutter for example.
I can tell you that hashish runs the gamut in color from green to dark brown. Under the microscope it appears resinous and not like plant material and occasionally there may be some particles of plant material adhering to it. The resinous material does not look like plant material, nor does it contain the features in place for us to look at so we do not call it marijuana. Testing the hashish in the lab will allow us to identify THC and other cannabinoids which is how we arrive at classifying the material as cannabis (narcotic drug) vs. marijuana.
The lab does not grade hashish or marijuana for that matter for purity, quality etc. If we receive a food product as evidence, which contain no plant material, but we can identify THC etc. the material will be reported out as cannabis (narcotic drug). Our examination of items submitted as evidence is using definitions contained in ARS 13-3401. We do not use the AMMA as a means of testing evidence submitted to the laboratory.
“cannabutter”: This substance is considered a narcotic drug if created from extracts from marijuana. We deal with this in accordance with title 13.
We do not have a department policy for every single Title 13 criminal violation. It is our job as law enforcement personnel to enforce the laws of Arizona, which is what is being done when it comes to the aforementioned violations related to use/possession of cannabis. Department policies are not specific to each A.R.S. code.”
Arizona Daily Star: “Counties cannot do an end-run around the Medical Marijuana Act by changing their zoning laws to make it impossible to open a dispensary, a judge ruled Monday. . . . ‘A county zoning ordinance that poses a categorical prohibition of medical marijuana violates state law that limits its zoning jurisdiction,’’ the judge wrote.”
arizona.newszap.com: “A marijuana dispensary in Sun City remains a possibility following a judge’s ruling, but county legal officials vow to continue the fight to keep it out of the community. Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon Oct. 14 granted a pretrial verdict in favor of White Mountain Health Center, which plans a dispensary for Sun City, and rejected a similar request on behalf of the county. The judge’s ruling effectively overturned Maricopa County’s zoning ordinance for medical marijuana dispensaries, ruling that the ordinance appeared to be a “transparent attempt” to keep the businesses out of unincorporated areas of the county.”
Arizona Republic: “Southeast Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin tried an illegal crop this year. He didn’t hide it from neighbors, and he never feared law enforcement would come asking about it. . . . Finished hemp is legal in the U.S., but growing it remains off-limits under federal law.”
Bloomberg: “Voter support for legal marijuana in Washington and Colorado is spurring similar campaigns in California and three other states that together may bring pot within lawful reach of almost 1-in-5 Americans. Advocates are seeking the signatures of registered voters in California, Arizona, Oregon and Alaska, with a combined population of 49 million, to put the question on ballots in 2014.
OC Weekly: “The U.S. Attorney’s office has formally dropped its case against the Anaheim landlord who stood to lose his $1.5 million retirement property over a $37 pot sale in a dispensary he’d already evicted . . . . the feds also dropped similar cases against three other landlords, Dr. Mark Burcaw . . . as well as Tom Woo and . . . Walter and Diane Botsch . . . .”
Phoenix New Times: “Uncle Herb’s medical-marijuana dispensary, tucked away near pine trees in an industrial area of south Payson, has the homey feel of a country store. . . . The super-potent paste gets added to Uncle Herb’s growing takeout menu of medicinal food and drink products sold to qualified patients . . . . Essentially, legal officials claim that the medical-pot law provides no protection for extracts, concentrates, or the food and drinks that may contain them. Under their theory, qualified patients and dispensary officials could be charged with a felony for possessing or making marijuana extracts.”
WMICentral.com: “Directions may be more extensive to find the new location where Overgaard Compassion Care had to relocate to after being told they were not welcome at their old location in the Whispering Pines Plaza.
The Navajo County Sheriff raided Mike Lytle for the second time this year. Earlier in the year the Sheriff raided Mike’s Mountain Meds and charged him with five felonies. This time the Sheriff raided his business called Beyond Compassion and charged Mike with two felonies.
Verde Independent: “Medical marijuana patients could learn later this month if they have a constitutional right to grow their own weed. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper said Wednesday she will consider on Oct. 18 a bid by the Department of Health Services to have the lawsuit thrown out.”