March 22, 2010

California Dispensary Owner Gets 6 years in Federal Prison

March 22, 2010

Virgil Edward Grant III, 42 of Carson, was sentenced to six years in federal prison today for owning and operating six dispensaries in the Compton, Gardena and Van Nuys areas ((click here)). Charges included federal conspiracy to possess a controlled substance and distributing a controlled substance. The investigation began in 2007 when Jeremy White, 20, crashed his pickup into a patrol car that was conducting a stop on another vehicle. The cop was paralyzed and the driver of the third car was killed. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that Mr. White had just left a Compton dispensary owned by Virgil Grant, and that he was under the influence of marijuana at the time. Jeremy White was sentenced to 15 years in prison ((click here)).

Instead of going to the distributor to see if they served the person while intoxicated (like in an alcohol related case), local law enforcement turned the case over to the feds. Once the feds got involved, it didn’t matter what state law said (despite what mass media will want you to believe, the Obama memo does not protect dispensaries). The feds came into the dispensaries, posed as California medical marijuana patients, and made controlled purchases, including a transaction for 1 pound at $5,700 dollars. Following the sales, Grant was arrested in May 2008.

After posting bail, he went back to business at his dispensaries, until he went back into federal custody in December. He will now spend the next six years in federal prison, and after release, will have another 3 years of supervision. Grant claimed that his dispensaries were legal, non-profit collectives. However, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson was unconvinced. According to court documents, Grants’ dispensaries made more than $1.3 million in sales during the 2 year investigation. “His interpretation of the California Attorney General’s Guidelines on the distribution of ‘medical marijuana’, if he ever consulted it, is incorrect and is an unrealistic view” said Justice Wilson. Charges were dropped against Grant’s wife. The employee that made the 1 pound sale was given probation. Go figure.

The legal grounds that Grant was sentenced for highlights the reality for any person that sells medical marijuana in America. Although he sold over a million dollars worth, the same legal principle can be applied to ANYONE that sells ANY amount of medical marijuana. They only chose to go after this guy because he owned so many facilities and his marijuana was involved in such a tragic incident. But the legal argument that he was operating at a profit, no matter how much, is important. Before dispensary owners think they are invincible, just look at what happened to Virgil Grant; it could be you.


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