PSPD closes Palm Springs pot shops

POSTED: 10:53 PM PDT May 17, 2013    UPDATED: 11:08 PM PDT May 17, 2013 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Gary Cherlin owns Desert Organic Solutions in Palm Springs. It's one of three legally operating medical marijuana clinics in the city. He says it was a lengthy two-year process to get there, but well worth it.

"Patients come here because they feel safe and know that we're licensed by the city and zoned properly," said Cherlin.

A different scene is at two other Palm Springs pot shops, California Collective of Choice known as C.C.O.C and The Holistic Collective or THC, where police and a locksmith were on hand and loyal patients were turned away.

"It was a pretty good place and nice people. It sucks not having it here," said patient Ben Wilkerson.

They were forced to close shop.

"It's very frustrating that 12 employees who all have families are now without jobs, including myself and I have four children," said C.C.O.C owner Mike Smith.

The two shops are among the many marijuana clinics in the city operating illegally without a license.

"I can only say I think it's great patients have access to locations actually approved by the city," said Cherlin.
 
Shop supporters protested to help free THC this week after the business received a notice, saying they had 24 hours to vacate the premises.
California Collective received the same.

The owners are asking for the public's help, even posting fliers on their door reading, "Want to keep the C.C.O.C open? Have your voice heard."

"I just hope we obtain a license one of these days and do what we do best," said Smith.

Cherlin says until they do, "I think the most important is that patients have a safe place to go."