Pot store guard fired for being “over aggressive” www.privateofficer.com
The dispensary owner said he was let go for being “over-aggressive and scary.” The dispensary’s owner said Earth Cann has hired two new guards who are “nice and professional.”
Former security guard George Covarrubias was hired to keep an eye on the parking lot of Earth Cann Wellness Center in Lake Forest Here he’s shown outside the dispensary in October.
Club owner Shannon Saccullo immediately posted warning signs – telling club members that marijuana prescriptions must remain in a sealed bag until they are taken home – and hired Covarrubias to enforce the dispensary’s rules.
In a short time Covarrubias made sure there was no smoking and loitering around Earth Cann or other businesses. He stopped “drug deals,” he said. He also developed a rapport with nearby businesses and introduced himself, asking for their worries and input.
Covarrubias said he suspended about eight people from use of the club – including one he characterizes as a good customer.
Covarrubias said he also called police when it seemed that violations of the zero tolerance policy were taking place outside his area of patrol.
In one case Covarrubias said he caught a club member packing a bowl of marijuana and smoking it.
“He buys a quarter pound at a time and at $300 an ounce, he spends $1,200 each time,” said Covarrubias. “I set high standards for the place and was professional,” he said. “They treated me like I was an old gang banger. I got spit on, almost got knocked down by speeding cars and got flipped off.”
Covarrubias said he is disappointed by his removal.
Saccullo said she received countless complaints about Covarrubias’ aggressive behavior.
“People were coming into the club saying ‘your security guard is really obsessed,’” she said. “I told him to mellow out and be nice to people. He was not approachable and polite. I want people to have a positive experience in the club and not to be hassled.”
Since November police have not gotten reports of any problems associated with the dispensary.
Vickie Simpson, executive director of Us Too Center which focuses on special needs children, is familiar with the dispensary and located in the neighboring business park.
“Before the security guards people would speed through the parking lot and we saw multiple drug transaction right in front of our door,” said Simpson. “Now we have no problems at all.”
Earth Cann’s membership has grown to more than 2,500 now, almost 1,000 more since late October.
In November the dispensary won a lawsuit against its landlord, which tried to evict the business, when a judge rejected the landlord’s argument that the dispensary should be forced to close because it allegedly violated a city zoning rule.
David Welch, an attorney who represented Earth Cann, called Superior Court judge’s ruling a victory in the medical marijuana battle.
City officials – who on Sept. 1 announced that complaints had been filed against 35 people associated with 14 dispensaries.– said the tenant-landlord dispute will have no affect on the city’s legal efforts to close down dispensaries citywide.
“If the landlord takes action to remove the tenant and they are removed, that’s one less dispensary the city would have to close,” said Jeff Dunn, a partner with Best, Best & Krieger, representing the city in its legal action against the dispensaries.
“The city has taken legal action to close all storefronts in Lake Forest. But if the landlord doesn’t do it, it won’t change what the city will do. Nothing has happened that will affect the city’s process to move forward.”
Dunn said all dispensaries – now more than 20 – could be shut down by early next year.
But Saccullo remains optimistic and hopes the city will agree to regulate a few of the dispensaries that a re running legitimate businesses.
“Things are great,” said Saccullo adding that club members are bringing in cans for the needy for the holidays. “I have a book of 100 testimonials of what medical marijuana is doing for people. I’ll be the poster child for how a business liker this should be run. I’m very proud of it.”
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