Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lake Forest Marijuana Dispensary Employees Convicted of Illegal Possession

Posted By CotoBlogzz 04-06-2010 10:30 AM

NEWPORT BEACH, CA - Two defendants, an owner and a manager, have pleaded guilty for their role in the sale of marijuana from a marijuana dispensary business in Lake Forest. Steven John Wick, 26, Rancho Santa Margarita, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of the sale of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. He admitted to the sentencing enhancements for crime-bail-crime, as he was out of custody on two other marijuana-related crimes from Orange and Humboldt Counties at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to three years in state prison for this case.

As a term of Wick's plea agreement, he is expected to plead guilty to his other 2009 Orange County case. He will plead guilty to one felony count of possession of marijuana for sale and possessing more than $25,000 obtained through illegal drug sales. He will be sentenced to an additional one year in state prison for this case, bringing his total sentence to four years in state prison.

Marilynn Geneva Manuel, 29, Rancho Santa Margarita, pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession for sale of marijuana and was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of formal probation. Her jail sentence was stayed pending successful completion of her probation.

Co-defendant Tara Elizabeth Sorenson, 22, Rancho Santa Margarita, is charged with three felony counts of the sale of marijuana and one felony count of possession of marijuana for sale. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of six years and eight months in state prison. Sorenson is out of custody on $100,000 bail and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 29, 2010

Under California state law, the cultivation, possession, distribution, and/or sale of marijuana is illegal. California law only provides an affirmative defense to those with a physician's recommendation or to their primary caregiver for the possession or cultivation of marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient. California law also allows qualified patients and their primary caregivers to associate in order to collectively and cooperatively cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. This affirmative defense does not apply to the sale of marijuana. Distribution and sale of marijuana to individuals with a physician's recommendation without any other relationship, such as through a dispensary, is not permitted under California law.

Wick and Manuel have pleaded guilty in this case. Sorenson is accused of the crimes described below.

Between January and November 2009, Wick owned and operated a marijuana distribution business called The Health Collective on Raymond Way in Lake Forest. Manuel assisted with managing and operating the business. Sorenson is accused of co-owning The Health Collective with Wick and illegally selling Marijuana.

Wick and Maniel sold marijuana to any person with a physician's recommendation without any relationship to the purchaser and without requiring or requesting them to participate in collectively or cooperatively cultivating marijuana. They were in possession of marijuana with the intent to illegally sell it. Sorenson is accused of doing the same.

Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schunk of the Major Narcotics Unit prosecuted this case

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