Medjool Owner Goes to Pot

Photo of Murad (left) taken in 2009 by SFMission.com

Photo of Murad (left) taken in 2009 by SFMission.com

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As Mission District landlords renting to a medical marijuana dispensary received a cease-and-desist letter, the owner of Medjool Restaurant and Lounge has joined a group applying to open a dispensary a block away.

The owners of the building housing the Shambhala Healing Center received cease-and-desist letters last month from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, Mission Loc@l learned on Friday. If the dispensary does not close, they risk property forfeiture, the letters warn.

Shambala’s owner said he was not sure if he would close.

The dispensary 208 Valencia Street Caregivers reportedly received a letter as well, but that information could not be independently confirmed. An employee there declined to comment.

Regardless, Medjool owner Gus Murad is involved in an effort to open a dispensary a block away from Shambhala, at 2520 Mission St., according to an application filed on Feb. 23. Medjool’s restaurant recently closed, but the rooftop bar remains open.

The dispensary would be called the Morado Collective.

Eduardo Morales and Mohamed Allali are named as Morado’s operators, but the $8,656 check to pay for the application is from Murad, according to documents obtained by Mission Loc@l.

Calls seeking comment this afternoon went unanswered. When Mission Loc@l called the number listed for the owner/operators, the voicemail recording said, “Gus Murad, please leave a name and number.”

The letter to Shambhala’s landlords states that the dispensary is operating in violation of a federal law, and could be subject to “enhanced penalties” because it is operating within “the prohibited distance” of Jose Coronado Playground, which is on 21st and Shotwell streets.

The letter also states that if the dispensary does not close within 45 days, the landlord could be subject to property forfeiture.

The San Francisco Planning Department examined the playground’s proximity when it approved the dispensary and, based on information from the Recreation and Park Department, determined that the playground clubhouse was vacant.

The dispensary’s operator, Al Shawa, said he was “in shock” that his dispensary was being targeted, because he obtained all the proper permits from the city just a year ago.

“I don’t know who wronged me, the city or the federal government,” he said, adding that he operates under the letter of the law.

The healing center has 10 full-time employees with full benefits, and they pay $20,000 in taxes every month, Shawa said.

We will update this story as we get more information.

11 Comments

  1. Once again the man comes down trying to stomp us in to the ground. Down presser man where you going to run to ? all along that day. Jah loves and so we all stay strong.

  2. Suki

    Oh god no. Enough. Open the damn thing in the Richmond District. Seriously.

  3. Caitlin

    Shambhala is an excellently run collective that abides by all state and local laws. For the feds to go after them shows that their goal must be to crush the entire medical cannabis industry.

  4. Mark

    Melinda Haag is an Obama appointee. The Obama administration needs to be confronted on these issues, and the people need answers.

  5. They need to start worrying about the crack heads, meth dealers and prostitutes. I live a block away and I see more adults using the playground than children. At night they play bike polo and during the day I see guys playing soccer. when I was a child before they renovated the playground I was never allowed to play their because the sand was littered with condoms and needles. i still don’t get why their worrying about a park nearly 4 blocks away.

  6. scum

    grammar hernandez.

    As Mission District landlords renting to a medical marijuana dispensary received a cease-and-desist letter, the owner of Medjool Restaurant and Lounge has joined a group applying to open a dispensary a block away.

    The owners of the building housing the Shambhala Healing Center received cease-and-desist letters last month from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, Mission Loc@l learned on Friday. If the dispensary does not close, they risk property forfeiture, the letters warn.

  7. Domani Shaw

    It is a shame that the dispensary that is the cleanest, with the nicest and most knowledgable staff, is being forced to close. They were the first dispensary in SF to obtain all the required permits and approvals by the city, and Melinda Haag is forcing them to shut down.
    What are her plans for the employees, will they end up another unemployment statistic?
    How can another application for a permit be accepted, when they intend to close the only “by-the-book” dispensary?

  8. Shambhala was the first dispensary I purchased from after getting my card. It’s a well run, well secured business that runs strictly in accordance to the laws. It is clean, well lit, well staffed. It is in an ideal location to help the local community. There is no reason on God’s green earth why this business should be harassed by the Federal government. If this harassment continues most patients such as myself, who much prefer to obtain regulated marijuana through a tax paying organization, will be forced to either grow our own or purchase it on the black market. Bud out, Feds!

  9. ebony

    not cool at all. this was the first place i visited after i got my card. verryyy professional. newsletter with info.. man .. that puts a damper on my trip next week ;[ well it was great while it lasted.

  10. I am glad the Feds are closing a legit business. Now we can just go buy our meds at Jose Coronado playground from our local “friendly” gangsters. After all, we need to support the local violence. One more thought, let’s institute prohibition and have only gangsters sell alcohool too. Than they can afford some really nice weapons.

    Seriously, I am sorry to hear this clean and safe dispensary might not be available in the near future.

  11. Surat Lozowick

    Hello everyone, I’m a student at the Academy of Art University, and I’m working on a video story about the impending closure of Shambhala. If anyone, especially a patient or someone else who it affects, is interested in talking to me, please get in touch immediately. My number is 928-227-0474 and my email is suratlozowick@gmail.com.

Comments are closed.