Pubdate: Tue, 05 Jul 2011 Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Copyright: 2011 Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Contact: http://www.signonsandiego.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/386 Author: Christopher Cadelago FIRST PERMITTED MEDICAL MARIJUANA CO-OP OPENS While many people were at the beach, eating barbecue and taking in fireworks, Bob Riedel was busy opening the first legally permitted medical marijuana collective in unincorporated San Diego County. Mother Earth's Alternative Healing Cooperative reopened at 10 a.m. Monday in an industrial park outside El Cajon. Riedel shuttered his former location in Fallbrook because it would not have qualified for an operating permit. The county's year-old restrictions limit collectives to industrial areas and prohibit them from operating within 1,000 feet of places such as parks, churches, homes, schools, libraries and other medical marijuana facilities. Supervisors later approved an $11,000 annual fee for collective operators. On Monday, more than 50 people joined the co-operative, which lists its hours of operation as 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday. About 90 percent of those who signed up were over the age of 45, Riedel said. Medical marijuana dispensaries have historically drawn the ire of neighbors who argue that many members are young and appear to be healthy. Riedel is hiring licensed pharmaceutical technicians, testing all of the product on site and doing customer surveys to determine which strains of medical marijuana are most effective. He also promised not to run advertisements depicting marijuana or to advertise free or discounted product. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.