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Meyers Nave Attorney Triumphs over Illegal Medical Marijuana

Oakland, CA- The City of Desert Hot Springs has shut down an illegally-operating medical marijuana dispensary.

Meyers Nave attorney Chrystal James successfully argued a motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against Organic Solutions of the Desert in the Riverside Superior Court. Organic Solutions recently opened in the City without securing a business license. Ms. James, an attorney working in the Los Angeles office of the Oakland-based law firm, represented the City of Desert Hot Springs in its effort to prevent Organic Solutions’ owner from continuing to do business without a business license. The court order prohibits Organic Solutions from doing business for fifteen (15) days until arguments on a preliminary injunction are heard in April. “The City is pleased that the Court issued the temporary restraining order upholding the City’s right to enforce its regulations and to protect the public health, safety and welfare of its residents by avoiding the adverse secondary effects associated with these dispensaries” said Mayor Alex Bias.

At issue in this case is the legality of the dispensary operating without a business license in violation of the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Organic Solutions’ business application was previously denied on the basis that a medical marijuana dispensary was not similar to any of the uses allowed under the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Despite the City’s denial of its business license application, Organic Solutions opened for business and continued to do business following the adoption of a moratorium by the City Council prohibiting the issuance of business licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries. The decision comes a day after the Desert Hot Springs City Council voted to extend the previously enacted 45-day moratorium until 2008.

California voters passed Proposition 215, known as the “the Compassionate Use Act”, in 1996, permitting the use and cultivation of marijuana for limited medical treatment purposes. In 2004, Senate Bill 420 was passed providing local governments with the regulatory framework to implement the Act. Federal law, however, prohibits the use or possession of marijuana as a controlled substance. “The injunction means the City also avoided any potential action by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). Other cities have had the federal agency step in to shut down these illegal operations,” stated Ms. James.