One of those included The Dispensary Store, which included a marijuana vending machine, created by Aliso Viejo, that aimed to make marijuana sales as simple and safe as an ATM withdrawal.
City officials say that dispensary was handed a citation for $100 and advised it should close its doors. The reason, officials said, had to do with a number of factors, including lack of a business license, failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy and due to the fact that they say dispensaries aren’t allowed to operate in the city.
Our Santa Ana marijuana dispensaries might concede the first two points – if not for the fact that the third is a clear violation of state law. And how exactly are dispensaries supposed to obtain permits and licensing when the city has made it all but impossible to get?
So far, the dispensary machine is still operational and the dispensary hasn’t issued any public statement (probably a wise move at this point).
The building’s owner, a chiropractor, purchased it more than 10 years ago. He said he was handed a $200 citation for another dispensary in the building, though he is appealing that ticket. He said while he can’t make referrals to the dispensaries (he’s a chiropractor, not a medical doctor), he vehemently opposes the city’s ban on dispensaries, particularly when patients of illnesses from eye degeneration to Alzheimer’s can so greatly benefit. He’s says he’s saddened for the city, the tenants and the patients.
Such bans have come under fire, and are currently being battled out in the courtroom.
The city council in Santa Ana banned storefront marijuana dispensaries back in 2007, saying they were the root cause of unsavory activities and disturbed those nearby with powerful odors. Code enforcement is usually responsible for the citations, but police do get involved, and those who are considered “persistent violators” are sometimes prosecuted criminally or taken to civil court.
Since the ban was enacted, there have been some 273 fines and nearly 15 warning notices sent out to business owners. The Register reports that nearly 70 Santa Ana medical marijuana dispensaries have been closed, while nearly 40 are under investigation. There have also been nearly two dozen “sweeps,” or law enforcement busts in that time frame as well.
Since 2010, when the city started tracking fines collected from these operations, it’s estimated the city has collected more than $35,000 in fines and is waiting on collection for another $21,000. Some of those fines have been sent off to collection agencies (damaging the credit of those businesses and their owners), and some have been attached to water bills.
The mayor pro-tem was quoted as saying the goal is to stop these businesses before they ever start. They’ve made their motives clear. However, it’s still in violation of state law – which is why Santa Ana medical marijuana dispensaries should seek the services of an experienced California marijuana lawyer.
The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California– including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.