Archive for August, 2011

Membership fees could threaten Oregon pot clubs

August 29th, 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland-area medical marijuana club got busted primarily for charging street prices for a product that is supposed to be donated from grower to patient. But membership fees required by the Wake ‘n Bake Cannabis Lounge were also singled out by prosecutors, and that has other clubs worried they could be next.

The owner of Wake ‘n Bake pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of marijuana last week. An undercover Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigation used a hidden camera to film a whiteboard listing prices for different strains — charging up to $180 an ounce.

During plea negotiations, prosecutors maintained that membership fees charged by the club in Aloha were also a violation of the law, a part of the umbrella “distribution of a controlled substance” charges filed against club owner Kathleen Cambron, who was sentenced to probation.

Some Oregon law enforcement officers argue that charging membership fees to belong to a medical marijuana club is the equivalent of selling the drug, and say more busts like this one are likely to come.

“It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Clatsop County Sheriff Thomas Bergin, president of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association.

Bergin said time and resources are the only obstacles to shutting down more cannabis clubs and he doesn’t mind using the membership fees as a springboard.

“I’d like to see them all shut down today. We’ll get there,” Bergin said.

Under Oregon law, growers are allowed to charge their patients for the costs of cultivating pot but not for

Article source: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Membership-fees-could-threaten-Oregon-pot-clubs-2146285.php

State OKs new financing for pot nonprofit

August 27th, 2011

Posted: 12:00 AM

State OKs new financing for pot nonprofit

The move should enable Northeast Patients Group to open four dispensaries.

By MICHAEL SHEPHERD Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA – Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services has approved new financing arrangements for the state’s largest medical marijuana nonprofit group, paving the way for the opening of four dispensaries for which Northeast Patients Group holds exclusive state licenses.

“I have had the opportunity to compare the changes that have occurred in financing and consulting services, and have decided that these changes do not diminish or otherwise alter the original plans for Maine’s operations,” Catherine Cobb, the director of DHHS’ Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, wrote in a letter dated Wednesday.

The letter, addressed to Northeast’s Executive Director Becky DeKeuster, was provided to the Kennebec Journal by Stephen Langsdorf, an Augusta attorney representing Northeast in a lawsuit against its former financial backer.

“DHHS, and particularly Cathy Cobb, have been clear and consistent in conveying their expectations of us and the importance of adhering to the policies in the Maine law,” DeKeuster said in a news release Friday. “As stated before, we look forward to this project adding meaningful jobs to the local economy.”

The Wellness and Pain Management Connection LLC —

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/news/state-oks-new-financing-for-pot-nonprofit_2011-08-27.html

State OKs financing for largest pot dispensary

August 26th, 2011

Posted: 11:22 AM
Updated: 11:36 AM

State OKs financing for largest pot dispensary

AUGUSTA — Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services approved financing for the state’s largest medical marijuana nonprofit this week, paving the way for the opening of four dispensaries for which it holds exclusive state licenses.

A letter dated Wednesday from Catherine Cobb, the director of DHHS’ Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, to Northeast Patients Group Executive Director Becky DeKeuster, was provided to the Kennebec Journal by Stephen Langsdorf, an Augusta-based attorney representing Northeast in a lawsuit against its former financial backer.

“I have had the opportunity to compare the change that have occurred in financing and consulting services and have decided that these changes do not diminish or otherwise alter the original plans for Maine’s operations,” Cobb wrote. “They are consistent with the original proposal.”

Northeast hasn’t yet opened a single dispensary, while all other dispensaries in Maine are operational.
It also has significantly dialed back financial expectations it envisioned in its initial applications with another financial backer.

In its 2010 application, Northeast projected a net gain of more than $426,000 while serving 691 patients in its first full year.

On July 20, Northeast thought it would lose more than $1.75 million serving

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/news/State-OKs-financing-for-largest-pot-dispensary.html

Marijuana org. files countersuit

August 17th, 2011

Northeast Patients Group, a nonprofit licensed to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine, has filed a countersuit against its former backer, arguing the California company failed to provide sufficient capital.

Northeast filed the suit against Berkeley Patients Group Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court, asking a judge to dismiss four of the eight counts levied against it, according to the Portland Press Herald. Berkeley in July sued Northeast and Executive Director Becky DeKeuster, claiming she sought as much as $2 million for the dispensaries in Maine while employed by Berkeley to oversee its expansion here and disclosed proprietary information without Berkeley’s consent. Northeast’s suit asks the court to dismiss Berkeley’s claim for more than $600,000 in unpaid loans, as well as claims of unjust enrichment, breach of contract and use of confidential information.

A lawyer for Northeast said the organization did spend some of the $632,000 Berkeley loaned it, but that it used the money to pay for Boston Red Sox tickets and first-class airfare for Berkeley’s CEO. Northeast is also seeking damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for Berkeley’s failure to provide the organization with adequate capital, claiming Berkeley’s lack of financing delayed the openings of its four dispensaries and forced it to seek another backer. Northeast recently announced a $1.6 million loan from a coalition that includes former NBA star Cuttino Mobley and a California dispensary operator.

Northeast did not file a response to the four other counts, since they were filed against DeKeuster. The case

Article source: http://www.mainebiz.biz/news48341.html

medical marijuana group countersues former backer

August 17th, 2011

Posted: August 17
Updated: Today at 12:30 AM

Maine medical marijuana group countersues former backer

Northeast Patients Group seeks hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages in the filing.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Maine’s largest medical marijuana nonprofit group has retaliated against its former backer, denying it has outstanding loans and countersuing for monetary awards.

Northeast Patients Group’s answer to a complaint by Berkeley Patients Group was filed Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court by Stephen Langsdorf, an Augusta-based lawyer for Preti Flaherty.

The filing says Northeast Patients Group wants a judge to dismiss four of eight counts alleged by Berkeley Patients Group.

All other claims were filed against Executive Director Becky DeKeuster, and so were left unanswered by Northeast Patients Group.

Langsdorf’s answer asks the court to dismiss Berkeley’s claims for repayment of debt, unjust enrichment, breach of contract and use of confidential information.

In July, California-based Berkeley sued Northeast and DeKeuster. It claimed more than $632,000 in unpaid loans, saying DeKeuster used Berkeley’s proprietary information to negotiate a financing deal with ex-NBA player Cuttino Mobley while serving as New England expansion director for Berkeley. It also asked that DeKeuster be removed from her post.

Langsdorf said Tuesday that Northeast did receive some of the $632,000 which Berkeley claims it provided — and used it

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/news/medical-marijuana-group-countersues-former-backer_2011-08-17.html

Marijuana group to present new business plan today

August 16th, 2011

The embattled Northeast Patients Group, awarded four out of eight contracts to establish state-regulated marijuana dispensaries in Maine, is scheduled to present its new business plan to state officials today, according to a story in the Portland Press Herald.

“If approved, the deal will enable Northeast Patients Group to open its first dispensary within a month, according to Daniel Walker, a Portland lawyer who represents the struggling dispensary group.

Walker filed documents Aug. 4 with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services naming the Farmacy Institute for Wellness and retired NBA basketball player Cuttino Mobley as partners in the Wellness and Pain Management Connection LLC.”

Northeast Patients Group and its director Rebecca DeKeuster have been sued by the California-based Berkeley Patients Group for breach of contract.

Read the full story here.

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/15/health/marijuana-group-to-present-new-business-plan-today/

State reviewing dispensary group’s loan

August 16th, 2011

Posted: August 16
Updated: Today at 12:32 AM

State reviewing dispensary group’s loan

Northeast Patients says it’s possible it could open a medical marijuana facility by mid-September.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA – As expected, Maine’s largest medical marijuana nonprofit delivered to the state a final $1.6 million financing agreement that it says will enable it to start opening dispensaries.

The terms of the deal between Northeast Patients Group and The Wellness and Pain Management Connection LLC were hand delivered Monday by Daniel Walker, Northeast’s legal counsel, said Catherine Cobb, director of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services‘ Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services.

The next step is “to review (the loan terms) for consistency with the original application that was approved by the department,” Cobb wrote in an email Monday.

The 56-page document doesn’t stray from the earlier announced agreement, but is signed and clarifies the services The Wellness and Pain Management Connection — a combination of California-based The Farmacy Institute for Wellness and former NBA player Cuttino Mobley — will provide to Maine’s biggest medical marijuana license holder.

The agreement breaks the loan into two parts: a $250,000 loan dated April

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/news/state-reviewing-dispensary-groups-loan_2011-08-16.html

Medical marijuana group submits financing plan to state

August 15th, 2011

AUGUSTA, Maine — The nonprofit group that will operate half of Maine’s eight medical marijuana dispensaries submitted its updated financial plans to the state on Monday and aims to open its first storefront in Thomaston next month.

Northeast Patients Group said it has secured $1.6 million in financing by partnering with a Rhode Island-based group headed by former pro basketball player Cuttino Mobley.

Catherine Cobb, head of licensing for the state Department of Health and Human Services, provided a copy of the agreement, which outlines in detail Northeast Patients Group’s plans.

Mobley’s group will provide $1.6 million in capital to be paid back over eight years at 8.5 percent annual interest. Mobley will provide medical marijuana supplies and also will consult on security, cultivation, marketing and public relations, according to the agreement.

In addition to Thomaston, Northeast Patients Group holds licenses for dispensaries in the Bangor area, Thomaston, Kennebec County and in the Portland market.

The financing agreement comes about a month after a lawsuit was filed against Northeast Patients Group by its former financial partner, Berkeley Patients Group out of California. The suit claims that Northeast Patients Group Executive Director Rebecca DeKeuster breached terms of her contract by using inside information to cut a deal with Mobley.

DeKuester resigned on Feb. 24 from her position as Berkeley Patients Group’s New England expansion director, just one day after she reportedly signed a letter of intent for Northeast Patients Group to partner with Mobley’s Rhode Island-based center.

The lawsuit, filed

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/15/business/medical-marijuana-group-submits-financing-plan-to-state/

Medical marijuana advocates to announce funding

August 15th, 2011

Average Maine gasoline price drops 7.9 cents

Maine congressional redistricting panel meets

Maine couple going on trial in redemption scam

5 children hurt in van-bus collision in Maine

Medicinal pot group to deliver plan in Maine

Maine man charged after standoff with police

Maine youths, bishop, attending Youth Day

1/8Maine boatyards open this week

Building at old Maine base imploded

Hiker who died on Maine mountain identified

Article source: http://www.wgme.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wgme_vid_8894.shtml

Marijuana group’s deal to be delivered to state

August 15th, 2011

Posted: August 15
Updated: Today at 10:19 PM

Marijuana group’s deal to be delivered to state

Northeast Patients scales back income expectations but says its first dispensary is just a few weeks away.

By MICHAEL SHEPHERD Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA – An attorney for Maine’s largest medical marijuana nonprofit group says it will formally deliver to state officials today its deal securing $1.6 million in financing.

Rebecca DeKeuster

If approved, the deal will enable Northeast Patients Group to open its first dispensary within a month, according to Daniel Walker, a Portland lawyer who represents the struggling dispensary group.

Walker filed documents Aug. 4 with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services naming the Farmacy Institute for Wellness and retired NBA basketball player Cuttino Mobley as partners in the Wellness and Pain Management Connection LLC.

The Wellness and Pain Management Connection — which formed Aug. 3 in Delaware — will lend Northeast $1.6 million over eight years at 8.5 percent annual interest.

Walker said the Wellness and Pain Management Connection was not formed at the last minute, but had been in the works for “months and months.”

“It wasn’t this mashed together, last-minute thing,” he said.

The Farmacy Institute for Wellness is an offshoot

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/news/marijuana-groups-deal-to-be-delivered-to-state_2011-08-15.html