Pot shop closes in Colfax

Letter from US Department of Justice warns that 8-year-old business in violation of law
By: Nancy Hagman Gold Country News Service
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COLFAX — Golden State Patient Care Collective — known as the GSPCC — has closed its doors in Colfax. The collective had dispensed cannabis to patients with medical prescriptions and state-issued authorization for eight years. It was the lone legal medical marijuana shop in Placer County. The Aug. 3 closure is apparently the result of action taken by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin C. Khasigian, head of the Eastern District of California of the Department of Justice. On July 2, Khasigian had sent a certified letter to Gilbert Dalpino, owner of the property located at 233 State Highway 174 where the GSPCC was the tenant. The letter from Khasigian advised Dalpino that the distribution of marijuana is in violation of federal law. The letter also stated that the continued use of the property in such violation “may result in forfeiture and criminal or civil penalties.” Lauren Horwood, spokeswoman for the Department of Justice district office in Sacramento, said Thursday, “It is the intention of the letter to get the landowner to comply with federal law.” In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, which allows seriously ill people to legally grow and use cannabis as medicine. A Colfax Record article published April 22, 2004 reported the GSPCC had been issued a business license by the City of Colfax on March 29, 2004 and it opened its doors four days later. The article also named Jim Henry and Cheryle Riendeau as co-owners of the business at the time. According to Bruce Kranz, Colfax city manager, the current city ordinance no longer allows marijuana dispensaries within city limits. Kranz said the collective’s closure will have an effect on the city coffers. “This will be like the loss of any small business in terms of revenue to the city,” Kranz said. Laurie Van Groningen, the city’s director of finance, said the business paid $500 annually for its license. Laurel Mathe, president of Colfax Pride Inc., a nonprofit organization that sponsors Colfax civic activities, said the GSPCC’s closure will impact community projects. “The collective’s owners have always been generous to Pride and the community; they gave $750 toward the fireworks this year,” Mathe said. Now, patients will have to travel to Citrus Heights in Sacramento County to fill their medical marijuana prescriptions. Neither Dalpino nor the collective’s owners could be reached for comment by press time Friday afternoon.