South Lake Tahoe pot club could close
One of three medical marijuana dispensaries in South Lake Tahoe could be forced to close following a crack down on California’s marijuana trade by federal prosecutors.
City of Angels 2 Collective will be required to leave its location at 989 Third St. by mid-July after the owner of the building, De Tarr Properties, received a letter from federal prosecutors in February, according to a staff report by City Attorney Patrick Enright.
“This letter is formal notice that continued use of the property in violation of federal law may result in forfeiture and criminal or civil penalties,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Khasigian wrote in the letter. “You should consult an attorney concerning this letter.”
Each of the medical marijuana dispensaries in South Lake Tahoe received similar letters in February. The letters have been going out to the landlords of medical marijuana collectives throughout California since October 2011, when the U.S. Attorney General’s Office stepped up enforcement of the federal prohibition on marijuana.
Following nearly two years of debate on how to regulate cannabis in South Lake Tahoe, each of the city’s dispensaries received a permit to operate near the end of March, according to Enright’s report.
On May 10, City of Angels 2 filed a request with the city to move the dispensary around the corner to 2179 Lake Tahoe Blvd., a building where the collective is in escrow, according to Enright’s staff report.
City ordinances require City Council approval for a dispensary to operate at an address other than what was listed on its permit application.
The City Council is scheduled to discuss approving the permit transfer at its meeting Tuesday. The Council meets starting at 9 a.m. at Lake Tahoe Airport. The item on the City of Angels move is scheduled for 10 a.m.
Enright makes a “strong recommendation” to the council to not approve the move in the report. The city attorney said South Lake Tahoe could face action by federal prosecutors if the council approves transfer of the permit.
“I do not envision the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the City or its Council Members for not taking action to close a dispensary already permitted, but I do believe that affirmatively assisting in the transfer or issuance of a new permit could subject the Council and/or City to sanctions,” Enright said in the report.
When reached by phone Friday, City of Angels owner Gino DiMatteo said he has always obeyed California’s medical marijuana laws and the city’s ordinances. He said he respected the council for the amount of effort put into crafting its medical marijuana regulations.
DiMatteo said he is concerned about the 15 employees who would lose their jobs if City of Angels has to close, but said he will accept the decision of the City Council.
“I’ve done nothing but support this community and this city,” DiMatteo said Friday. “If they want to keep allowing me to that, great. If not, that’s fine, too.”
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