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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner Gets 6 Years in Prison

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Photo by mares8 via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by mares8 via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Today's sentencing of a Los Angeles area man, convicted for selling drugs by using medical marijuana dispensaries as a front, has its roots in a fatal collision on the 101 Freeway in Ventura County. It was in 2007 when 20-year-old Jeremy White was driving his pickup truck and drifted into shoulder. He struck a small SUV pulled over by a California Highway Patrol officer, killing the 21-year-old driver inside and paralyzing the motorcycle officer for life, according to the Ventura County Star in a 2008 article.Upon investigation, White, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison, admitted being under the influence of marijuana when the accident took place, saying he had purchased the drug from a “medical marijuana” dispensary in Compton. That led investigators to one of six The Holistic Caregivers (THC) locations, owned by 42-year-old Virgil Edward Grant III of Carson. Other locations were located in Gardena and Van Nuys, some of them under the name Western Caregiver Group and

Last June, Grant pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy count for distributing marijuana. Even so, he continued to operate two storefront marijuana dispensaries until December when investigators arrested him again. This time his jail bond was remanded, leaving him in custody until today's sentencing hearing, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Today, Grant said he was operating within California law, operating as a non profit. Judge Stephen Wilson, however, said that claim was "not credible," opining that Grant was trying to use state laws governing medicinal use of marijuana to shield him from federal drug laws. "[His] interpretation of the California Attorney General’s Guidelines [on the distribution of 'medical marijuana'], if he ever consulted it, is incorrect and is an unrealistic view.”

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Grant received six years in federal prison.