NEWARK -- As the co-owners of NBD Collective were getting ready last week to reopen the Tri-City area's lone marijuana dispensary, authorities were working to put them in jail.
Teddy Miller and Bob Uwanawich, whose cannabis club was raided and shut down seven weeks ago, have been charged with more than 25 felony counts, authorities said.
The pair, out on $100,000 bail each, is scheduled to face those charges Aug. 25 at the Fremont Hall of Justice, said Teresa Drenick, an Alameda County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman.
Miller and Uwanawich each are facing five counts of conspiracy to possess marijuana for sale; five counts of conspiracy to sell marijuana; possession of marijuana to sell; selling marijuana; 14 counts of felony employment tax fraud; and misdemeanor charges of failure to obtain workers' compensation insurance and of improper employment of security personnel, authorities said.
Three NBD Collective employees, who authorities would not name, are charged with felony conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
James Roberts, the dispensary's San Jose-based attorney, said his clients have done nothing wrong.
"I'd like to see some evidence of criminal conduct, because the affidavit they filed sure didn't have any," Roberts said.
The charges were filed Friday, one day after NBD Collective reopened.
It had been closed since June 28, when Newark police and the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force
Three psychic businesses -- two in Fremont and one in Salinas -- also were raided in connection with the dispensary.
Roberts said that nothing out of the ordinary was discovered in the raids.
"There was $3,000 in cash -- that's not a large figure for a collective -- and they didn't find a large amount of cannabis," he said.
According to a 2008 state Attorney General's Office report, NBD is allowed to possess 8 ounces of marijuana and six mature pot plants per patient.
Roberts accused the task force of being more interested in seizing the collective's money, 65 percent of which the task force can keep, he said.
Michelle Gregory, a state Department of Justice spokeswoman, said the pot club in the city's Old Town district was raided for a simple reason: "We go after them because they're breaking the law," she said.
The embattled collective also is fighting to stay open on another front -- one involving its long-running legal battle with the city of Newark.
City officials say the dispensary's owners never applied for the proper paperwork and need to file for a land-use permit because Newark does not allow that kind of business.
"They have ignored our process from the get-go," said Terrence Grindall, Newark's community development director. "Their original and continued approach has been a straight-arm to the city."
A Newark Planning Commission meeting scheduled for July 12 to consider NBD's permit was postponed at the club attorneys' request.
When city officials issued an administrative citation against the dispensary, NBD's owners took the matter to court, where a Fremont judge dismissed its lawsuit to overturn the citation.
The pot club's attorneys have appealed that dismissal, and the issue is winding its way through the state's court of appeals, Roberts said.
City Manager John Becker said Newark's zoning laws are straightforward, but the collective's owners have been determined "to stay in business as long as they could because these dispensaries make a lot of money."
City officials were surprised that NBD's owners decided to reopen and are keeping a close watch on the situation.
"There are all kinds of directions we can go," Grindall said. "We need to enforce our laws. And we will."
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.