Lake Forest Pot Club Owner Gets Probation, No Jail Time

Until last week, Tara Sorenson, co-owner of Lake Forest's Health Collective, was looking at the possibility of spending up to six years behind bars if convicted of selling marijuana, as prosecutors charged. But as reported today in the Orange County Register, Sorenson agreed to a deal last Friday that allows her to avoid jail time in return for one year of probation by pleading guilty to a single count of selling marijuana. After a year, assuming Sorenson stays out of trouble, the case against her will be dismissed, said her attorney, Christopher Glew.

“She got a great deal,” Glew says. “She's allowed to use her medicine while on probation. She's on probation now, so we're recommending she stay away from operating a dispensary during that time, but the deal she signed doesn't say anything about that.”

Two other figures connected with the Health Collective, Steven Wick and Marilyn Manuel, were arrested along with Sorenson during a Nov. 2009 raid. Wick pled guilty to several felony sales charges and was sentenced to four years in prison; Manuel is serving one year in jail. The collective is just one of several Lake Forest dispensaries on Raymond Way that were located in a mini-mall next to a Montessori school, which became a problem on Jan. 1 of this year after a new law prohibited cannabis clubs from operating nearby schools.

One of the other dispensaries at the location, 215 Agenda, was run by Mark Moen, who was arrested two years ago and charged with numerous counts of selling marijuana and money laundering. His case, as well as that of one of his employees, Adam Moody, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next week. Moen faces 25 years or more if convicted, and Moody could spend the next three years behind bars if found guilty.

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