Five employees and a manager at Chronic Pain Releaf were recently given misdemeanor citations for working at an unlicensed business according to Oceanside Police spokesman Lt. Leonard Cosby. He says they were cited under Oceanside city code 15.2 which says your employer must have a business license.
Chronic Pain Releaf at 218 San Diego Street does not.
Lt. Cosby says the manager cited at Chronic Pain Releaf was Steven Haensgen. A call to Haensgen drew a “no comment.” Cosby also said a security guard was cited for not being licensed to be a security guard.
Lt. Cosby says those cited would be prosecuted by the city attorney and not the district attorney, and those cases would probably be heard before just a judge and not a jury. He says if those cited are found guilty they could face up to a year in jail.
“But something like this would probably result in a fine of $1,000 or less or probation.”
Cosby says that he is surprised that the business was still up and running. “It is my understanding the property owner evicted them and got them to move out.”
Cosby says that it is his understanding that many of the same people who worked at Natures Leaf now work at Chronic Pain Releaf. Natures Leaf closed up shop October 31 after a year and half of contentious litigation with the city of Oceanside. Chronic Pain Releaf opened shortly before Natures Leaf closed.
Attorney Gina Austin who represented Natures Leaf says that there is no ownership connection between the two dispensaries. Austin says she has no comment about the plight of Chronic Pain Releaf.
One person who works at a separate business that gives out certification cards allowing patients to legally buy marijuana says things are about to go down in Oceanside.
“I have many patients who are connected with the DEA,” says the person who did want to be identified. “Oceanside has called in the DEA, and I hear [Chronic Pain Releaf] is about to get raided by the DEA.”
Lt. Cosby says he did not know about any calls from his department to the DEA.
”For all I know the call to DEA could have come from someone on the City Council,” says the card issuer. “The city council does not want dispensaries in Oceanside, and they won’t even have an open meeting about it. I thought that was kind of shady.”
To clients who ask where to go to get their medical pot, the card issuer says: “I tell them don’t even think about going in to any in Oceanside.” The card issuer says there are successful dispensaries who are legally operating in the unincorporated areas of Vista.
But Oceanside is different. “It’s funny that we are right next to Camp Pendleton and U.S. Marines with PTSD are allowed to [buy medical marijuana]. But each city gets to make up its own rules.”
On December 16 Oceanside city attorney John Mullen commented in a terse email about the status of Chronic Pain Releaf: “A three day notice to quit was served by landlord. Unlawful detainer has been filed against business. Civil suit filed against owner of land. Criminal cites filed against dispensary employees.”