HERCULES -- A medical marijuana dispensary that had operated for two years in apparent disregard of federal and city law has shut down.
Hercules Health Center, at 500 Alfred Nobel Drive, is "temporarily closed," according to its website.
"We are relocating and will announce our new address in the next day or so," read a statement on the website Friday.
Hercules Health Center opened in North Shore Business Park in late 2010 as a self-described, state-of-the-art medical cannabis collective, with a palette of services and products that included massage, hyperbaric chamber, and pain-relief therapies; an in-house chiropractor, Dr. Todd Kaufmann; pain-relief products with cannabis-derived ingredients including some for horses and other pets; and an express checkout service for patients who called in their orders.
Hercules Health Center was a union shop represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, according to Ed Breslin, the health center's business manager at the time. The same union represented workers at Oaksterdam and three other medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland, Breslin said in a late 2010 interview.
Medical marijuana is used to alleviate discomfort and chronic pain caused by an array of ailments, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and AIDS.
Several residents contacted this newspaper and praised the Hercules Health Center as a safe and convenient place to get their medicine. But cannabis club detractors say the facilities attract criminals and that most of the clients use marijuana recreationally.
Breslin and Kaufmann eventually had a falling out. Kaufmann said Wednesday he was the owner of Hercules Health Center and that he was the holder of the center's city business license, which he said he canceled in December.
But City Clerk Doreen Mathews said the city revoked Kaufmann's license and administrative use permit for a chiropractic business once the city determined the true nature of the business.
"Dr. Kaufmann apparently sold the business, and although the new owner applied for a business license, the City denied the application," Mathews said in an email Wednesday. "No new license was issued."
Also in December, Kaufmann said, he filed a report with Hercules police saying Breslin had assaulted him several times the previous year.
According to the Hercules police log for Dec. 17, 2012, an "adult male reported he had been physically assaulted, several times, by his former business partner ... at his business located at 500 Alfred Nobel, sometime in 2011."
On Wednesday, Hercules police spokeswoman Connie Van Putten said, "The Officer determined that the incident did not rise to the level of a criminal investigation. There was no further action taken."
Breslin did not return phone messages left on his voice mail at the Hercules Health Center phone number.
Breslin also is in dispute with his commercial landlord, apparently over the ownership of some office furniture. On Feb. 25, Hercules police arrested Breslin, 49, at a Hercules residence on a warrant for grand theft and took him to County Jail, according to a police log; he was released Tuesday after the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office declined to press charges, Van Putten said.
At issue was office furniture in place when the premises at 500 Alfred Nobel Drive were rented to Hercules Health Center and the affiliated chiropractic office, Van Putten said.
The furniture has been returned to the landlord, Van Putten said.
"Any further action would be civil and have to be handled between the parties," Van Putten said.
A representative of the landlord, WCD Co., reached by phone, said "No comment."
Hercules does not explicitly prohibit marijuana dispensaries, but the City Council effectively banned them with a 2006 ordinance that amended the Municipal Code to read:
"No license shall be issued ... authorizing the conduct or continuance of any business which violates state or federal law."
California voters in 1996 approved marijuana for medical use on the recommendation of a doctor. The federal government, however, considers marijuana an illegal drug, with no medical use.