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December 25, 2011

Two Convicted of Illegally Selling Pot at Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 10:56 pm

LONG BEACH – Two men were convicted by a Long Beach jury today of a dozen criminal counts of illegally selling marijuana at dispensaries in Long Beach and Orange County.

Joseph James Byron, 50, and Joe Matthew Grumbine, 45, were convicted after the Superior Court jury deliberated a day. Besides the illegal sales charges for both men, the jury convicted Byron of two counts of grand theft of electricity from Southern California Edison and two counts of filing false state tax returns in 2008 and 2009.

Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 11 by trial Judge Charles Sheldon. Deputy District Attorney Jodi Castano, who prosecuted the case, asked that the defendants be jailed pending sentencing, but the judge allowed them to remain free on bail.

Byron and Grumbine owned and operated marijuana dispensaries in Long Beach and Orange County. Patients with doctors’ recommendations could sign up as members of the collective and buy marijuana over the counter.

Undercover officers from the Long Beach Police Department made 12 undercover buys at the dispensaries and the case against the defendants was filed a year ago.

The defendants were allowed to argue at the three-week trial that they were operating as a lawful collective and the money that was collected was simply a donation or reimbursement for the marijuana. In California, qualified patients can be part of collectives or cooperatives in which the marijuana is grown and distributed to their members. However, the law prohibits over-the-counter sale of marijuana for profit.

Prosecutor Castano presented evidence that the defendants were operating businesses for profit. Other evidence included the theft of the electricity, which was a way to shield from authorities cultivation of marijuana plants.

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