Pubdate: Wed, 25 Apr 2001
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2001 San Francisco Chronicle
Author: Matthew Taylor, Chronicle Staff Writer


Patients wanting to buy pot at the Hemp Center in the Richmond District may 
have to get buzzed-in twice before they can get their hands on it, said 
Kathleen Lemons, the club's owner.

A security buzzer like the one that lets patients into the dispensary might 
be added to the front door -- along with security guards -- following the 
second armed robbery at the Balboa Street establishment in less than two 
weeks, Lemons said.

"We're beefing up everything over here," Lemons said. "We sat quietly for 
almost two years without any problems at all, but being robbed in such a 
short period of time, this is what we have gotta do." The Hemp Center 
distributes marijuana for medical purposes under California's Proposition 215.

Three patients and four staffers, including Lemons, were in the club at 5: 
45 p.m. Monday when a robbery suspect entered, police said. He walked up to 
the counter, pulled out a gun and jumped into the dispensary, where he 
pointed the gun and ordered staff to hit the floor, Lemons said.

"He put a gun to the back of one of the employees' head and said, 'Don't 
make me shoot you,' " Lemons said. "It was pretty scary." The suspect then 
turned the gun on Lemons and stuck it against the back of her neck as she 
filled a bag with money and pot, she said. He then led Lemons and another 
employee to a back room, where he told them to lie facedown. "This 
get-to-the-floor-face-down routine didn't sound good to me," Lemons said. 
"He looked like he meant business."

While the gunman ordered around staff, the three patients -- sitting on a 
couch -- looked out of the window to get a license plate number, and a 
staffer activated a silent alarm, Lemons said.

Fifteen minutes later, police arrested David Pace, 27, and Molly Sharp, 18, 
both of Sacramento, as they drove near Ocean Beach, said Officer Bobby 
Cheung of the San Francisco Police Department.

The pair had allegedly been turned away earlier in the day as they tried to 
buy pot for medicinal purposes, Lemons said. Police are investigating 
whether the pair came to San Francisco specifically to commit the robbery, 
Cheung said.

They face multiple charges, including conspiracy, armed robbery, making 
terrorist threats, possessing a stolen weapon and possession of pot, Cheung 

The last robbery took place at the Hemp Center on April 12. About $8,000 
cash and $12,000 worth of marijuana were taken.
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