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Murrieta Moratorium on Marijuana Dispensaries Doesn't Stop New Operator

The operator of a new medical marijuana dispensary in Murrieta was served notice Monday of the city's moratorium.

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 3 p.m. Dec. 10 with a response from the Murrieta Police Department.

A medical marijuana dispensary that has been operating in Murrieta for a little more than two weeks has been served a notice of the city's moratorium on such operations.

Two Murrieta police code enforcement officers served the notice to Diamond Star Remedies, 41449 Los Alamos Road, just after 11 a.m. Monday.

Patch got video of the officers serving the notice after it was notified by dispensary owner John Szwec that he was expecting a visit from city officials.

Szwec said he was also served a similar notice on Friday after being denied a business license by the city.

Szwec said he is renting the lot on Los Alamos Road with plans to buy it, pave the dirt lot and erect a permanent building. He is serving about 40 patients in a modular building that was already located on the site.

"As soon as they (the city) are willing to stop harassing—and start following state laws—I will eventually pave this and put a building up,” Szwec told Patch.

He said he chose the Murrieta location because he found a landlord who was willing to allow its use for a dispensary.

Diamond Star Remedies is currently serving about 40 patients he said, all of whom have provided a valid doctor's recommendation and valid California identification.

Szwec said he is licensed by the California State Board of Equalization to dispense medical marijuana, as use of the drug is permitted for medical purposes under the state's Compassionate Use Act.

"We filed for a business license, told the city what we were doing," Szwec said. "It was denied. This is about safe access for people with a doctor's recommendation."

There is no signage on the nondescript dispensary near the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Los Alamos Road.

"We are not trying to make it noticeable, it's just safe access," Szwec said.

Szwec said he has hired an attorney to defend his right to operate under state law.

The city is currently involved in two lawsuits over dispensaries that have since ceased operations.

Murrieta city council unanimously voted in September to extend the city's moratorium for one year while it awaits a state Supreme Court decision on whether cities have the power to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in their jurisdictions.

Murrieta code enforcement Linda Mejia said her job in serving the notice Monday was as a city liaison, to give the dispensary information on legal uses of the property.

She referred questions to the Murrieta Police Department.

Lt. Tony Conrad, who oversees detective operations, confirmed the police department was looking into the dispensary and that he would provide further comment Tuesday.

FlyingTooLow December 12, 2012 at 01:47 PM
LBV Collins... A million thanks for your comments. I truly hope you enjoy the books and look forward to your reviews. (Warning: the books contain some pretty strong language) I wish you and your family a very safe and Merry Christmas
FlyingTooLow December 12, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Beach mom... Well said!!!
LBV Collins December 12, 2012 at 03:41 PM
You're welcome, Hugh. And best wishes to you and your family, too!
dick weed December 12, 2012 at 05:31 PM
i agree but the Murrieta city council thinks and or do what ever they want when they want, cant wait till the backlash of there behavior and making up there own rules finally catches up with them, peoples voice, they dont care its all about them and there buddy's, cant wait till the roof comes down on all of them
Tonie December 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
To: The truth 123 You have a very mean spirit and it seems that you attack people you may not know. I would like to say that my family and I have been a victim of the press and have taken a different path, we contacted the writer, Maggie Avants, she assures us that she will follow our case and write all the facts when they come out. I can tell you that it is NOT the writer that is at fault, it is the system in which in we live. It seems that if you have been accused of a crime you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent, instead of the other way around. So truth 123 do something about the system not the writer, and maybe if you feel strong about something use your real name.

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