Happy Wellness Marijuana Dispensary Re-opens

Agents with the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force search a pot club at 7200 Jarvis Ave. on Dec. 14, 2011. According to a report from ABC 7, the collective re-opened on Dec. 21. Credit Nika MeginoAgents with the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force search a pot club at 7200 Jarvis Ave. on Dec. 14, 2011. According to a report from ABC 7, the collective re-opened on Dec. 21. Credit Nika MeginoNewark’s sole medical marijuana dispensary has re-opened one week after authorities raided it as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, according to a report from ABC 7.

Co-founder of Happy Wellness Center Justin Hammer re-opened the facility Wednesday morning, according to the report.

“If I felt we were doing anything wrong, anything illegal, I wouldn’t be here,” Hammer told ABC 7.

The re-opening comes exactly one week after police searched through the pot club located on 7200 Jarvis Ave. and a Danville home. During the Dec. 14 multi-city raid, authorities seized more than $40,000, about 20 pounds of processed marijuana and firearms.

Keila Santos Gonzalez, 27, of Danville was arrested as a result of the raids. Authorities have said that she is the manager of the Happy Wellness Center and that three others were being sought in a criminal case related to the dispensary.

Special Agent Michelle Gregory of the state Department of Justice said all four suspects face charges of conspiracy, possession for sale of marijuana and sales of marijuana.

As of Tuesday evening, neither the state Department of Justice nor the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office had any updates on the case.

Commander Bob Douglas from Newark Police Department told ABC7 that Newark police “view this business as illegal and support task force efforts to shut it down.”

Happy Wellness Center opened in Newark on Aug. 31, despite being denied a business license by Newark on Aug. 17.

The collective, which was the second one in Newark, remained open even after the Newark City Council voted to pass an ordinance banning all marijuana dispensaries.

Attorneys of the other pot club, North Bay Dispensary (NBD) Cannabis Collective, confirmed on Dec. 9 that NBD had moved out of its former location at 7180 Thornton Ave. The club had been raided by authorities and shut down several months ago.

Hammer has spoken out publically in Newark in favor of collectives and has said he wanted to work with the community to be able to provide medical marijuana to patients.

“This place is going to be transparent. We want (police) there. If we have criminals there, come get them,” said Hammer at an Oct. 28 council meeting. “I’m so saddened that this is the angle, [that it’s]this way or this way… because of other things that have happened.”

Gregory said the dispensary is not set up for patient care but rather to make a large profit.

“It’s not about patients’ needs, it’s clearly about making money and selling drugs,” Gregory said.

The suspects are facing charges of sales of marijuana, possession for sales of marijuana and conspiracy, according to Gregory.

Hammer told ABC 7 that he has not made a profit from the dispensary’s operations.

– Article originally from Newark Patch.

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