At least one of four medical marijuana dispensaries north of Palm Desert plans to stay open despite a threat from the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to sue and shut down pot shops.
In a closed session this week, the supervisors authorized its attorneys to sue any marijuana dispensary in the unincorporated county area unless the business immediately closes up shop, according to Raymond Smith, the county’s information officer.
The release stated that there are at least 36 dispensaries “operating illegally within unincorporated Riverside County.”
At least four dispensaries are operating north of Palm Desert, near Sun City Palm Desert. Those include Paragon on Palapas Road, Desert Care Solutions on Wildcat Drive, Oak Tree Alternative Care PD on Wolf Road and Sublime Remedies on Wildcat Drive, according to a list released by Smith.
An employee at Desert Care Solutions, who would not give her name, said the business plans on “definitely fighting” any county action.
“We’re open,” the woman said before hanging up.
Workers at other dispensaries declined comment and messages to owners were left unreturned.
In 2006, Riverside County changed its zoning ordinance when it adopted a ban on marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated county area.
Since that time, the county has largely cracked down on dispensaries from a land-use approach.
A news release from Smith also warned that property owners who lease to suspected medical marijuana operators may be in jeopardy.
“If businesses are operating out of leased buildings, federal officials also might be able to seize the property, including buildings,” the release stated.
The county’s decision follows an Oct. 7 announcement made by the Department of Justice that it would shut down medical marijuana operators statewide.
However, his words came before a Nov. 9 decision from the Fourth District Court, which ruled that nothing in the 1996 Compassionate Use Act or the Medical Marijuana Program Act pre-empts local jurisdictions from banning the facilities.
Last month’s court ruling buoyed today’s decision, according to the county’s news release.