Charges dropped against CEO of Ojai medical marijuana dispensary


Sespe Creek Collective in Ojai became the first legal medical marijuana dispensary in Ventura County. JUAN CARLO/THE STAR

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Chelsea Sutula (left), owner of Sespe Creek Collective in Ojai, talks with bud tender Vega Pan in the newly opened medical marijuana dispensary in Ojai in November 2017.(Photo: JUAN CARLO/THE STAR)Buy Photo

Charges were dismissed last month against the chief executive officer of an Ojai pot collective who later opened the county’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary. 

Chelsea Sutula, who serves as president of the Sespe Creek Collective, was facing two counts of perjury, one of maintaining a place to sell marijuana and two of possessing and transporting the drug until the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the case on May 31. 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Hendrickson said the decision was made because “at the moment,” prosecutors were not able to prove the offenses beyond a reasonable doubt. 

For Sutula, 41, of Ventura, it meant a weight removed from her shoulders. 

“It’s been tough having this thing hanging over my head for such a long time,” Sutula said Wednesday. “I’m happy it’s over.” 

Sutula was arrested and charged in November 2016 after raids were conducted on her Ventura home and the collective’s property in Ojai. The raids came five days before California voters approved a ballot measure that would allow people 21 and older to use marijuana for recreational purposes. 

More on the Sespe Creek Collective:

Investigators at the time of the raid alleged the cooperative worked outside the guidelines established by the state’s Proposition 215, the 1996 medical marijuana voter initiative known as the Compassionate Use Act. 

The law allowed cooperative members to grow and share a certain amount of marijuana among themselves, but not

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