Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jan 2012
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Lee Enterprises
Author: Kerana Todorov


A man who sought to open Napa's first legal medical marijuana 
dispensary in 2011 was one of two men arrested last week on suspicion 
of growing and selling marijuana, according to the Napa Special 
Investigations Bureau.

The clinic applicant, Mark Hammond, 50, of Napa, and Ryan Maeda, 29, 
were booked Jan. 12 into the Napa County jail in connection with 
growing marijuana for sale on an estate in the 2100 block of Soda 
Canyon Road, NSIB Lt. Leroy Anderson said.

Hammond represented a group that was among the three top applicants 
to operate Napa's first a medical marijuana dispensary. They proposed 
operating at an industrial location on Enterprise Court in south 
Napa, according to city records.

The city ended up preliminarily choosing another applicant before 
freezing the selection process due to legal concerns.

After a month-long investigation, NSIB agents on Jan. 12 executed a 
search warrant on the Soda Canyon Road estate, Anderson said. 
According to court records and NSIB, agents seized 70 marijuana 
plants growing indoors, along with 14 pounds of processed marijuana, 
and arrested Maeda.

At about the same time, agents arrested Hammond at his house in the 
3200 block of Vichy Avenue in connection with the estate growing 
operation, NSIB said. Agents seized another 10 pounds of processed 
marijuana and about $13,000 in cash at Hammond's house, Anderson said.

According to court records, agents who executed the search warrant 
also found a digital scale, packaging materials, tax forms for Maeda 
from Hammond and eight medical marijuana cards.

The California Compassionate Use Act allows card holders to grow 
marijuana for their medical needs, but prohibits the sale of 
marijuana for profit.

Both Hammond and Maeda are out on bail and are scheduled to be 
arraigned Feb. 23, according to the Napa County jail.

Hammond said by phone Wednesday he could not speak because he was driving.

In his city application, filed Oct. 18, 2010, Hammond applied to 
operate Napa's first legal medical marijuana dispensary as president 
and chief executive officer of Remedia Napa Valley.

A Vintage High School graduate and a general contractor, Hammond said 
Remedia would be a "locally owned and operated dispensary."

"The dispensary will be operated as a mutual benefit corporation that 
will allow us to focus on our members as well as the community for 
many years to come," Hammond wrote.

Anderson said the estate's owner was not arrested and cooperated with 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart