Joseph Erich Pearson, S.F. Dispensary Cofounder, Arrested After Marijuana Grow Burns in Sonoma

Categories: Marijuana
Barn_burning.jpg
Marijuana blaze
The cofounder of San Francisco's slickest medical cannabis dispensary and a member of the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force has been charged with multiple felonies stemming from a Sonoma County marijuana grow, according to news reports.

Joseph Erich Pearson, 34, co-founder of the award-winning Mission Street dispensary San Francisco Patient and Resource Center (SPARC), was arrested Monday near Guerneville, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported this week. He and two others -- Alexander Pearson, 33, and Timothy Crites, 32 -- will appear in Sonoma County District Court today.
Pearson and his attorney declined to comment when SF Weekly called them on Thursday. Sheriff's deputies could not be reached for comment.

The trio was arrested Monday after an electrical fire broke out late Sunday in a barn on a Mays Canyon Road -- property Pearson owns. The barn contained grow lights and nearly 1,000 plants, police told the Press-Democrat. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but fire officials say it was probably an overloaded electrical circuit, according to fire officials.

The men were arrested on suspicion of cultivation and possession for sale as well as renting, leasing, or making available a building for drug use, according to the newspaper.

However, there were enough medical-marijuana recommendations on site to render the grow legal, sources told the Press-Democrat. State law regarding cultivation limits are ridiculously vague, which means it's entirely possible that Pearson would not have been charged with a crime if the grow were in San Francisco (though if it were in San Diego, things could also have been different).

Pearson is well-known within Northern California's medical marijuana movement. He is one of the state's most successful legal cultivators, and he was a principal at a short-lived cannabis consulting firm, CannBe, with Stephen DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center, which is the nation's biggest medical marijuana dispensary.

But that's not to say he is necessarily well-liked. Several years ago, Pearson gained a bad reputation after he told other dispensary owners that he knew just how to put them out of business. He told them that he knew how to grow cannabis at cost for $600 per pound -- much less than the $5,000 per pound  other profiteering dispensaries were selling pot for. His threat became more of a reality when San Francisco Patient and Resource Center sold quarter-ounces of high-quality outdoor cannabis for $50, which would cost $90 at most dispensaries.

When contacted, other members of the Medical Cannabis Task Force didn't want to speak unfavorably of Pearson. "I want to wait until we know all the facts," one told us. Suffice to say nobody, save perhaps Sonoma County sheriffs, is celebrating the bust.

According to John Stample, who was quoted in the Press-Democrat as a local resident on the isolated country road, the barn had been the source of noise stemming from "late-night parties."

"It's been a real problem," he says.

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28 comments
jackwidow
jackwidow

Queen Seeds and you can get Jack widow. 

Jackwidow
Jackwidow

I am here for CANNABIS what about the rest of you? Then stop your dam fighting and grow your weed god dam it.

Guest
Guest

My indoor work for my self in Michigan allowing 12 plants, The cost for my harvests average, 40 to 60 dollars a OZ. I use top Genetics  only from the breeder. Way to many are over inflating the cost. I do it for my personal self. Have had a tad bit of experience since 87. I really wish people remembered a Oz only cost 180 to 200 a oz from 87 t 90. Then insanity set in. Of course minus LA they always over pay. Spent 5 years in San Fernando. before moving to Mendocino County (Willits.) for 12 years learning from a elder. Now Im the elder at 50. My job is to teach other patients. How to with out the hype. Everyone should do this with ther heart and love. Not looking at a wallet. Nothing wrong with making a buck. if you pay your taxes and doi t right. But help out the ill and lower the prices. Our co-op has a sliding scale and a free amount for the indigent. No one goes without meds.  

Anonymous
Anonymous

"However, there were enough medical-marijuana recommendations on site to render the grow legal, sources told the Press-Democrat"

1. wheres the link to that quote?

i find it hillarious that this "supposed" legal grow had someone trying to put out the fire with fire extinguishers before abandoning the empy cannisters on the floor and then fleeing the site before firefighters arrived.

i would like to also know what was the amount of plants inside the barn? they had 934 plants outside, but how many plants were inside? Anything over 100 plants violates federal law, and therefore this case should be handed over to the federal government

Runnerman12
Runnerman12

Come on Mr Roberts, award winning cannabis? Where did you get fed that lie? From Pearson himself?

Mickey Martin
Mickey Martin

SPARC won an international design award....thus "award winning" is accurate... 

G-dawg
G-dawg

Design award?? really?? I'm sure it affects medicinal value.  Give me a break.   

jackwidow
jackwidow

Look out folks the whistle blower is he to spill out some lies and eat you guys up. Do we believe the lies or do we fight with them? I all ready know the truth and that is all I need and thanks for the FYI but no thanks. I know H. Cain can use a whistle blower or maybe not the whistle but he needs your help nonetheless.

Whistle Blower
Whistle Blower

 I worked at SPARC for a couple of months and I saw the dark side of medical marijuana- people going into convulsions and passing out after vaporizing for an hour. I suggested to upper management that SPARC staff should be CPR certified and my hours were cut. Bottom line: SPARC cares about money more than the health of "patients". Pearson being arrested is just a simple case of the chickens coming home to roost.

Eric Rosete
Eric Rosete

They got the award from the American Institute of Architects. They didn't say award winning cannabis, they said award winning dispensary, as in the architectural design of their dispensary. 

Probably should have been made clearer for people who read things wrong and jump to conclusions, but I'll refrain from leaving snide remarks and just post a link:

http://www.aiasf.org/Programs/...  

Mickey Martin
Mickey Martin

 The real question here is why Sonoma County Sheriff Deputies have arrested and slandered a provider of medicine and Sonoma County property owner with little evidence of wrongdoing. If there was evidence of excessive profits being made as was asserted, then why not submit it to a forensic accountant for review and issue a warrant f there were credible findings instead of perp walking these guys in an effort to get their names in the paper. Not surprised they did not want to comment. I would hope that members of the cannabis community, competition or not, would have the courage to stand up for what is right. After all, the next "profits" they may strt looking at could be theirs.... have arrested and slandered a provider of medicine and Sonoma County property owner with little evidence of wrongdoing. If there was evidence of excessive profits being made as was asserted, then why not submit it to a forensic accountant for review and issue a warrant f there were credible findings instead of perp walking these guys in an effort to get their names in the paper. Not surprised they did not want to comment. I would hope that members of the cannabis community, competition or not, would have the courage to stand up for what is right. After all, the next "profits" they may strt looking at could be theirs....

Concerned Patient
Concerned Patient

Once again: That just crap - ALL dispensaries are greedy and raping the growers right now. NONE are working within the nonprofit status that they should be - but indoor growers are – in fact most going broke if they are not a dispensary owner. Dispensaries get away with it by paying their founders and directors ridiculous salaries so at the end of the day, yes they are nonprofit.  The FACT IS Dispensaries would rather buy some B grade crap from a novice grower at dirt cheap prices and sell as grade A to unknown buyers.  Then they pay on consignment - after sold at more the triple the price they paid. Just terrible on this industry right now what the dispensaries are doing, expecially to those growers that have time in the industry and do produce that top percent, as well as not allowing access to these top meds to patients in need.I know this as I work within a research and consumer reporting agency focused on cannabis and gearing up to take over this industry through an informaton and knowledge based method. We have already reviewed over 70 dispesnaries within the SF Bay Area and most have serious problems. From pests and serious cemicles effecting the meds and low grade over priced product to bud tenders that just do not know anything – it is all a serious problem that needs to be sorted, and will be very soon.

Mickey Martin
Mickey Martin

But SPARC tests all of their medicine and cultivates themselves. I like how you accuse everyone else of being greedy and then say you work for a research firm that plans on taking over this industry. LOL. And you admit "at the end of the day, they are non-profits." What is reasonable salary for running a dispensary with all of the risks involved there, as Mr. Pearson seems to be experiencing now? Consider that SF Board of Supervisors make well over $200,000 a year.... 

Jon Greene
Jon Greene

Concerned Patient: I agree with you, dispensaries are not providing true and dedicated care to patients as they should be. And the owners should not be making high salaries as most are, apart from the staff that are making min.wage. Are you part of CannaPro (www.CannaPro.com)? I know they are compiling similar data and will be launching a new website to develop patient awareness which I (an older patient with serious illness) am looking forward to.

Concerned Patient
Concerned Patient

We have tested SPARC and yes they are a higher quality dispensary - rating among the best of the 70 we have so far tested. Overall San Francisco does have a higher standard to those outside of San Francisco. However no SPARC does not grow ALL their own meds as they do purchase some from venders and did have chemicals noted in a few of their products. Yes they test their products through, I believe Steep Hill, but they are not required, nor do, reveal all issues. Furthermore they did not carry what we would determine as the “Top 5%” – which will be our focus.

Yes, our goal is to take over the industry, not as a dispensary or profiteer, but through regulations and information to patients. We believe once the end consumer is aware of these issues they will demand that dispensaries improve their stock. It is a simple fact that most dispensaries cut corners and do not purchase the absolutely best they could.Furthermore as far as salaries – again it is a nonprofit aimed to help those that need help – not earn a big salary (so $35,000 – $50,000 a year is more then enough).

Furthermore I believe growers are taking on more risk but currently getting robbed by the dispensaries due to the influx of novice growers coming into the industry with mid grade (but name brand strains). Through our research and networks we have converse with over 100 growers, from Oakland warehouses to Santa Cruz homes, and they are all taking a huge hit right now – barely braking even. This is making good growers cut corners, looking for ways to increase yields and less care on medicinal value.  

In the end we just want to make sure the end user is aware.

G-Dawg
G-Dawg

 Award WInning???? Fictious Reporting

Willie Lowman
Willie Lowman

Grow Low, Sell High... get rich quick! Sounds like a marijuana activist to me.  $200 dollars an ounce for weeds!?! Book him, Dano!! 

Mickey Martin
Mickey Martin

You obviously have no idea what the overhead is on running a well-respected, secure, and well-staffed medical cannabis dispensing collective. While this whimsical quip is cute, it lacks understanding and reality. I hope the next time someone gets a chance to book you on some BS, Willie that they will not hesitate, since you think it is so cute to arrest and slander providers of cannabis medicine....Unbelievable. 

Áine MacDermot
Áine MacDermot

 There's no reason outdoor grown cannabis couldn't retail for $40/oz. Indoor cultivation is a lot more expensive, though.

Guest
Guest

Not that much and the numbers make up for it. IN most cases.

Mickey Martin
Mickey Martin

Rent, staff, security, taxes, advocacy, development, and the many other costs that go with running a high-end and respected medical cannabis dispensing collective is not cheap. Sure...if they were selling it out of their moms garage this may be a valid statement. I am sure Apple could ell me an Ipod for $10 too if they wanted, but that doesn't exactly pay the bills on their Union Square store, now does it?

Guest
Guest

My point Im talking the cost of a personal grow op. As a care giver we can have 5 times 12. You still believe that no ones is doing well. Then the co-op as a whole has a hundred caregivers times 5 patients. You scamming caregivers need to stop lying.

Concerned Patient
Concerned Patient

That just crap - ALL dispensaries are greedy and raping the growers right now. NONE are working within the nonprofit status that they should be - but indoor growers are – in fact most going broke if they are not a dispensary owner. Dispensaries get away with it by paying their founders and directors ridiculous salaries so at the end of the day, yes they are nonprofit.  The FACT IS dispensaries would rather buy some B grade crap from a novice grower at dirt cheap prices and sell as grade A to unknown buyers.  Then they pay on consignment - after sold at more the triple the price they paid. Just terrible on this industry right now what the dispensaries are doing, expecially to those growers that have time in the industry and do produce that top percent, as well as not allowing access to these top meds to patients in need.I know this as I work within a research and consumer reporting agency focused on cannabis and gearing up to take over this industry through an informaton and knowledge based method. We have already reviewed over 70 dispesnaries within the SF Bay Area and most have serious problems. From pests and serious cemicles effecting the meds and low grade over priced product to bud tenders that just do not know anything – it is all a serious problem that needs to be sorted, and will be very soon.

jackwidow
jackwidow

Hey are you the real Mickey Martin that got busted and jailed for cannabis?And if you that same guy why are you fighting? You need to show us that your smarter then whistle blower and the others that you know the truth because I know that you do but whistler blower likes that you are fighting and wants a fight. Are you going to fight? That is a YES or NO. Then do it.

Guest
Guest

Dispensaries want to pay less than 160 a oz but will charge 300 and up depending on their location and how much they can scam. and most have lousy meds. Co-ops and compassion groups are the way. The scammer on the corner uses tooo many nutes and does not cure it. They Dry it.  I have sampled over 100  different Dispensaries Id give 5 passing grades, Straight across They allow no garbage, Not like most.

Mickey Martin
Mickey Martin

Let me know how your organization's "take over" is less greedy than the current situation. I am waiting...

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