S.F. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Close: Jobs, Taxes Go Up in Smoke

Charles Pappas creates jobs and pays his taxes, to the tune of about 12 full-time, full-benefit positions which start at $20 an hour, and over $200,000 a year to the state Board of Equalization.

The problem is Pappas is chairman of the Divinity Tree, one of the three San Francisco medical marijuana dispensaries which received letters from the federal Department of Justice at the end of September. The letters instructed the dispensaries — which were too close to either a playground or a school for the liking of federal law, despite “unambiguous” compliance with state law — to close by the end of business today or face stiff penalties.

Lawyers this week asked a federal judge for a temporary restraining order, a move that could have stayed the government's hand, but a hearing won't be held until next week. So rather than risk the seizure of his landlord's property or the 40 years in prison threatened by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, Pappas closed shop.

“Until this latest injustice subsides, there's nothing else we can do,” he said, adding that Divinity Tree may join in one of the two lawsuits currently filed in federal court against the feds.

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