By Nick Schou
Why Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine, the operators of two shuttered cannabis clubs in Long Beach as well as Garden Grove‘s Unit D collective, were ever charged for selling marijuana in the first place is a mystery. After all, Long Beach not only does not have any laws banning marijuana clubs in the city, but it actually has an ordinance allowing them to operate, which is why there are now numerous clubs that, for a tidy $15,000 permit fee, are currently doing exactly the same thing that Byron and Grumbine now face prison time for doing: selling weed to patients qualified to smoke the stuff under state law.
But yesterday, this weird case got even more bizarre when Long Beach Superior Court Judge Charles D. Sheldon ruled that Byron and Grumbine could not wage a so-called “affirmative defense,” meaning that jurors will have no choice but to view them as regular drug dealers rather than medical marijuana purveyors who were arguably carrying out the law rather than breaking it.
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