A Southern California medical marijuana dispensary owner awaiting sentencing on a drug conspiracy charge was arrested Thursday after he tried to open two pot stores, authorities said.
Virgil Grant III, 42, of Carson was taken into custody at a pot clinic in Los Angeles, said Sarah Pullen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Grant wasn't supposed to associate with medical marijuana dispensaries while he was free on bond, Pullen said.
A phone message left for Grant's lawyer, Roger Rosen, wasn't immediately returned.
It was the first time the DEA has made an arrest at a pot clinic in Southern California since the Obama administration loosened guidelines in October on federal prosecution in 14 states where medical marijuana is allowed.
The new guidelines instruct federal prosecutors to avoid prosecution when dispensaries comply with state medical marijuana laws.
Grant pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. He was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 4.
Grant was arrested in May 2008 and charged with 41 counts, including drug conspiracy and money laundering. Nearly all the charges were dropped as part of a plea deal.
One of his employees was accused of selling marijuana products to Jeremy White, who pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter in Ventura County in connection with a December 2007 accident.
White's truck hit a car that was parked on the shoulder of Highway 101 in Ventura County, killing the driver and seriously injuring CHP Officer Anthony Pedeferri.
White said he was under the influence of marijuana when the accident occurred, and investigators found marijuana and edible marijuana products in his car, according to court documents.
Federal investigators determined that White purchased the marijuana from The Holistic Caregivers, or THC, in Compton, one of the medical marijuana dispensaries run by Grant. White was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year.
California's medical marijuana law prohibits the cultivation and sale of marijuana for profit. Marijuana use is illegal under federal law, which does not recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and 13 other states.
By GREG RISLING
December 3, 2009
Pot-Shop Owner Arrested By DEA; First Dispensary Arrest Since Obama's New Policy