Councilmember Gordo Hands Emails from Cannabis Collective to Authorities

Published : Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 2:33 PM

Shaun Szameit, operator of the Golden State Collective dispensary, left, and Pasadena City Councilmember Victor Gordo, right.

The unpleasant interactions between the City of Pasadena and Golden State Collective reached a new level of acrimony Feb. 21 when City Councilman Victor Gordo provided the city attorney with emails he received from the cannabis dispensary’s owner that he said “made me very, very uncomfortable.”

“I believed that Mr. [Shaun] Szameit was asking me to do something that I will not do,” said Gordo who made portions of the emails cited public. “While I support the sale of legal cannabis, I will not allow the tentacles of marijuana operators who openly violate our laws to come into our City and our local government.”

As far as the City is concerned, Golden State Collective was not operating legally in Pasadena prior to the passage of Measure CC legalizing the regulated sale of marijuana. Once the measure became law, Golden State’s history of illegal operations disqualified it from the licensing process.

Gordo has released a chronology of events surrounding the drafting of the marijuana ordinance and the collective’s efforts to normalize its business status, interspersed with email contacts Szameit made at the time seeking recourse.

The passages provided reveal a very persistent Szameit’s efforts to get a meeting with what was, for a time, his city councilman. He alternately expresses fealty to the community, a desire to help, and petulance at being ignored. In one missive he boasts of his contacts and influence in organized labor.

Gordo said Szameit crossed a line when he pushed for a meeting, prior to a closed-door session of the city council, to discuss a lawsuit filed by the collective owner against Pasadena.

That Jan. 19 email read, in part, “I urge you to be compelled to put aside 15 minutes to have a cup of coffee and discuss the future direction of the City of Pasadena. This is going too far and there is absolutely no excuse to completely ignore a request from your constituent to meet for years. This is unprofessional and condescending…”

By Feb. 1, a petition was circulating in District 5 to recall Gordo. Szameit claimed responsibility on Feb 8, when his attorney filed paperwork necessary to launch the effort.

On Feb. 13, Szameit, two other collective members, and the owner of the building which houses Golden State were cited for violations of the city code. Arraignment is set for March 22. Charges include possession of marijuana for sale, sale of cannabis without a license, and public nuisance.

Szameit’s attorney, Bradley Hertz, could not be reached for comment.






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