Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

March 26, 2010
Weed-growing Mendocino retirees picket to get paid in capital

Lea Ananda and life partner Shar Ananda settled in Mendocino County for a leisurely retirement growing pot.

Lea, 61, a former insurance examiner and Shar, 65, a retired hospital lab worker, bought a 26-foot geodesic dome and invested Shar's pension to fill it with seedings.

Their medical cannabis venture took off. They became growers for dispensaries, including three in Sacramento.

But the pot trade can have unexpected events.

Lea Ananda complained the P Street Health Center in Sacramento never paid $14,500 it owed them for weed.

Dispensary manager Wade Brown, 34, pleaded he had an excuse: Officers in Merced County confiscated seven pounds of pot he had collected from patient growers. Without weed to dispense, the pot shop was short on cash.

A spokeswoman for the Merced County District Attorney's office confirmed Brown was stopped for a traffic violation Dec. 14 and arrested for investigation for felony possession of concentrated cannabis and felony possession for sale.

No charges have been filed - and no product returned.

So the Anandas showed up outside the dispensary Tuesday. They held picket signs and demanded payment.

An apologetic dispensary owner, Jesse Paquin, who paid them the first $1,500 last week, delivered another $1,500 on the spot. He promised to come up with the rest.

"I never had a penny in my life," he said. "I'm just trying to work this out."

Just another day in a business like no other.

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