Palm Springs to close unsanctioned marijuana shop

Dispensary given closure notice by city Wednesday because it's been operating without permission

Megan Terlecky, News Channel 3 Anchor & Reporter, megan.terlecky@kesq.com
POSTED: 07:03 PM PDT May 16, 2013    UPDATED: 11:31 PM PDT May 16, 2013 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

A Palm Springs marijuana dispensary is being forced to close its doors.  THC on North Palm Canyon Drive is not one of the city sanctioned clinics.

John Roe, a member and volunteer of The Holistic Collective (THC) said, "The city at this point is playing games with us."

THC serves about 12,000 members.  These are members who may now have to find another place to get their medical marijuana.  

"We are the only openly gay collective here in Palm Springs.  It's unfortunate this is the way the city is treating us," said Roe.

Throughout the day several members of the collective stood outside protesting.

"We are wasting our tax payer dollars on things that aren't harming our community," said Yitz Anthony, a volunteer with The Holistic Collective.

THC received a notice Wednesday saying they had 24 hours to vacate the place they've operated out of for the last five years.

"It's very frustrating.  When I got the news yesterday, it made me sick to my stomach," said Roe.

This all stems from a legal battle with the city of Palm Springs.

"On April 9th of this year, the city filed a judgement to declare THC a public nuisance," said Roe.

Collective members say they believe the city of Palm Springs is using the recent state Supreme Court ruling that allows cities to ban collectives, to target them.

Elwin Hughes is an army veteran who depends on medical marijuana.

"it relaxes me, it takes away bad thoughts sometimes, it really helps me," said Hughes.

Hughes says he's been a member of THC for years.

"I need the medication.  I think probably the majority of the people coming in need it for their medication.  They wouldn't close down Savon Drugs because I need pain killers, why don't they stay out of here and leave us alone," said Hughes.

"At the end of the day the people who miss out is the community," said Anthony.

This is not the first legal battle this collective has fought.  It was raided in 2010 by the LA County Sheriff's Department, but it was allowed to reopen a few days later.

As of 7pm Thursday night, Palm Springs police had not officially closed THC.

The City of Palm Springs did not return our request for comment.