Police raid second marijuana business in one week - WNEM TV 5

5 Investigates

Police raid second marijuana business in one week

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Phoenix police served a search warrant on Thursday night at a business that detectives allege was selling medical marijuana without a license.

The Vapor Lounge is located in a strip mall on Dunlap near 43rd Avenue. The only visible marker in the window is a blinking neon sign that reads, "Open."

"We understand that this particular location was similar to a bar. Customers would come in and pay a donation," said Sgt. Steve Martos from the Phoenix Police Department.

Martos said the law is clear, and his detectives believe the Vapor Lounge was selling marijuana. But customers and employees told CBS 5 Investigates the business was doing nothing wrong.

"We offer a safe environment for people to come medicate," said Bobby Price, who identified himself as an Iraq veteran and the volunteer general manager of the Vapor Lounge.

He said customers bring their own marijuana or order it at a kiosk inside, which connects to a licensed dispensary nearby.

"It's being delivered here, so it is being sold inside our establishment but not by us," said Price.

Just one day before, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said his office would prosecute anyone arrested for selling marijuana without a proper state license.

"No matter what you call your club. No matter how you try to disguise your sale," said Montgomery.

Phoenix police raided another so-called "compassion club" last week that detectives allege was a front for illegal drug sales.

Under the state's medical marijuana law, only licensed dispensaries exempt from prosecution for selling the drug. But dozens of unlicensed dispensaries have popped up across the Valley.

Employees of one such business recently told CBS 5 Investigates they believed they were within the law because they took donations, rather than selling the drug.

It's a defense police and prosecutors don't agree with.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

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