Treatment of SLO County residents arrested on suspicion of marijuana distribution 'appalling,' attorney says

Two of the 12 San Luis Obispo County residents arrested last week on suspicion of distributing marijuana through a series of mobile dispensaries have been arraigned, according to officials with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office. A majority of the 12 arrested have retained attorneys at a San Luis Obispo-based firm; their attorney said Tuesday that they received “appalling treatment” when officers from various law enforcement agencies arrested them at their homes Dec. 27. Three other people from Southern California were also arrested.

Valarie Hosking, 41, and David Hosking, 46, both of Pismo Beach, were arraigned Dec. 30 and each charged with two counts of selling or furnishing marijuana or hash. A pre-preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 20.

Patrick Fisher of Fisher & Fisher, who is representing the Hoskings as well as six other people, said additional arraignments have been scheduled for Jan. 11. He is also representing Christopher Austin, 33, and Amy Austin, 33, both of Paso Robles; Peter Miller, 56, of Paso Robles; Steven Gordon, 55, of Pismo Beach; and Rachel Tamagni, 57, and Charles Tamagni, 47, both of Paso Robles.

Fisher said his clients were operating nonprofit dispensaries and said it appears they were conducting themselves in compliance with California law.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, who was sworn in Monday, said he was briefed on the case but was not aware of what specifically led to the arrests. He said one deputy from the department serves on the task force.

When asked about his reaction to comments at the county Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday — in which two supervisors said they want to meet with him to discuss a “rational approach” to dealing with medical marijuana — Parkinson said he is interested in making sure people have access to information to ensure they’re compliant with state law.

— Cynthia Lambert