The former owner of half a dozen L.A.-area medical marijuana dispensaries was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison for conspiring to sell the drug, officials said.
Virgil Edward Grant II, 42, of Carson pleaded guilty last June to a single conspiracy count after federal agents raided the dispensaries, which authorities claimed were operated like retail pot stores.
The federal investigation began after a driver who was high on marijuana crashed his pickup truck into a car that had been stopped by a CHP officer, authorities said. The crash resulted in the death of the driver of the stopped vehicle and left the CHP officer paralyzed, officials said.
Investigators later determined that the driver of the pickup had purchased marijuana and “marijuana edibles” from one of Grant’s dispensaries, Holistic Caregivers, in Compton.
At Monday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson labeled as “not credible” Grant’s explanation that he was operating his multiple marijuana dispensaries as nonprofit cooperatives. According to federal prosecutors, Grants’ facilities generated more than $1.3 million in revenue during more than two years in business.
Grant has been in federal custody since December, when authorities shut down the dispensaries he was continuing to operate, said a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office. His six-year sentence is to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Federal authorities dropped charges against his wife, Psytra Monique Grant, 33. A former employee, Stanley Jerome Cole, received probation in the case.
– Article from Los Angeles Times.
Calif. pot clinic owner sentenced in profit scheme
by The Associated Press
The former owner of six Los Angeles-area medical marijuana dispensaries, including one store linked to an accident that killed a motorist and paralyzed an officer, was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison for selling pot for profit.
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson said he didn’t believe Virgil Grant III’s claim that his dispensaries weren’t for profit. Grant used the clinics to shield for-profit marijuana sales, the judge said.
California’s medical marijuana law prohibits the cultivation and sale of marijuana for profit. Marijuana use is illegal under federal law, which doesn’t recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and other states.
Grant, 42, was arrested in May 2008 on a host of federal charges, including operating three dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools and money laundering. The Carson resident pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana
Grant’s business dealings became known when a customer of his Compton store, Jeremy White, drove his truck into a car stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer on the shoulder of Highway 101 in Ventura County in December 2007.
The driver of the parked car was killed. The officer, Anthony Pedeferri, was critically injured.
White acknowledged driving under the influence of marijuana, and investigators found marijuana and edible marijuana products in his car from The Holistic Caregivers in Compton, one of Grant’s dispensaries. White pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
After a number of undercover buys at several of Grant’s dispensaries, including a $5,700, 1-pound transaction with one of Grant’s employees, Grant was indicted and arrested.
Grant was arrested again in December when he tried to open two of his pot dispensaries in violation of his bond, which mandated that he stay away from marijuana clinics.
– Article from The Associated Press.