Medical cannabis permit hearing Thursday for embattled Broadway dispensary

OAKLAND — The former operator of a medical cannabis dispensary across the street from Oakland police headquarters is asking for
permission to reopen under a new name after the city forced it to shut down.

The dispensary at 705 Broadway would be renamed Oakland Cannabis Institute LLC.

The city will decide during a hearing Thursday whether the applicant, Dona Frank, should be allowed to keep one of Oakland’s scarce dispensary permits, originally associated with the Oakland Patient Center.

Frank paid the center’s founders, Steven and Stacie Petras, $1.7 million for the medical cannabis dispensary. The transaction in late 2009 caught the attention of the City Administrator’s Office, which tried to stop it.

Oakland’s four dispensary permits cannot be bought or sold, and the city administrator has to approve any ownership changes. They should have come to the city first, said Arturo Sanchez, an assistant to the Oakland city administrator.

In January 2010, he ruled the dispensary didn’t pay the permit fee on time and tried to transfer the dispensary permit without permission. He said the Petrases knew the procedure because they previously had added a partner. Instead of applying to the city for a full transfer to show Frank had become the new proprietor, her name was added to the permit with the other owners. Frank then changed the name to Oakland Cannabis Institute and operated the dispensary for four months.

“This indicates a willingness to deceive the city in order to achieve your goal, and such evidence will be presented at the hearing,” wrote Sanchez in a March 22 letter to Frank, the Petrases and their partner.

But an Alameda County Superior Court judge slammed the city for basing its decision on confusing, shoddy and arbitrary procedures that violated Frank’s due process. Judge Frank Roesch likened the rushed January hearing in which the permit was revoked to a “kangaroo court.” He ordered the city to process the application.

An independent hearing officer, Demetrius Shelton, will oversee the new hearing Thursday.

Sanchez said the city will argue that Frank is not fit to operate the dispensary because she assumed control of the permit without following the appropriate procedure.

Frank owned several medical cannabis dispensaries in Sonoma County but now operates only one, the Organic Cannabis Foundation on Todd Road in Santa Rosa.

via : Mercury News

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