A judge approved a restraining order Friday the city of Murrieta had requested to shutter a medical marijuana collective. But he also acknowledged the order was ambiguous, and the owners of the collective said they have no intention of shutting it down.
Riverside Superior Court Judge John Vineyard approved the city’s request for the order against Greenhouse Cannabis Club, a medical marijuana collective that opened in January.
The order requires Greenhouse to “immediately cease providing medical marijuana to more than two persons at ( the club on Jefferson Avenue ).” And it ordered the collective “not to prevent the city … from inspecting the premises.”
Although seemingly a win for the city, which has established a temporary ban on those types of establishments, the order leaves room for interpretation, said the attorney representing the cannabis club.
Richard Ackerman, who represents the cannabis club, said that as written the order allows his client, club director Eric McNeil, to continue providing medical marijuana to legitimate card-holding patients provided each client is seen individually.
The assertion made during the Friday hearing was not rejected by the judge.
“It doesn’t talk about the number of employees or club members, it talks about ( serving ) one person at a time,” Ackerman said after the morning hearing in Riverside. “So I’m advising ( them ) to schedule one appointment at a time.”
Friday’s hearing was a follow-up to a January hearing, during which Murrieta’s legal team was denied its first request to shut down the cannabis club.
During the first hearing, Vineyard ruled that the city’s request that the club “cease all medical marijuana operations,” was too broad and denied medical marijuana patients rights provided by the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Vineyard scheduled Friday’s hearing to allow the city to write an order that would target only the sale or dispensing of marijuana.
During Friday’s hearing, City Attorney Robert Mahlowitz argued that including the “more than two persons” clause was the city’s way of complying with state law while enforcing the city’s temporary city moratorium on marijuana dispensaries.
“It was designed that way to respect the right of individuals to use medical marijuana … but there’s no time limit,” Mahlowitz said in response to questions about whether the order prohibited two or more customers at a time, within one day, etc. “So once we had evidence of two people ( acquiring marijuana at the club ) we stopped gathering evidence.”
After hearing arguments from both sides, Vineyard approved the order written by Mahlowtiz while acknowledging that Ackerman’s interpretation was not without merit.
“It’s a closer call than most,” Vineyard said.
Reached Friday afternoon, McNeil said he plans to keep the club open.
News Hawk – 420 Warrior 420 MAGAZINE
Location: Escondido, CA
Source: The Californian
Author: Nelsy Rodriguez
Contact: [email protected]
Copyright: 2012 North County Times – Lee Enterprises