Last medical marijuana storefront shut down

The last of half-a-dozen medical marijuana dispensaries in Oceanside shut its doors Oct. 3. North County Collective, on South Coast Highway, has closed for good after fighting to stay open since July. After three court battles with the city over business licensing, the legal fees, which reached up to $20,000, the costs became too much to absorb, said North County Collective owner John Scandalios. The next step would have been to go back to court Oct. 18 and pay $2,500 a day for sanctions from September to present. “It didn’t make sense anymore to continue,” Scandalios said.

Over 1,000 medical marijuana patients who used North County Collective were notified of the closure by Internet, email and a recorded phone message. The next question is, where will the patients go? The answer may be right down the street. After North County Collective closed, another dispensary is said to have opened a few doors down. Scandalios said dispensaries are not going to go away. Medical use of marijuana is legal in California with a doctor’s recommendation.

Dispensary owners are asking for business regulations to guide their operations. “The city, for whatever reason, wants no part of this,” Scandalios said. “Instead of regulating it, they want it banned.” Others feel dispensaries will continue to be shut down. In addition to shutting down North County Collective, the city has closed Green Ocean Collective on El Camino Real, Abaca Medical Collective on South Coast Highway and CKS on Oceanside Boulevard. Since the city moratorium against marijuana dispensaries expired, dispensaries have opened, but the city has taken them to court and won. Dispensaries are not a permitted business use in the city zoning code.

“If you operate as a dispensary, you face legal consequences,” City Attorney John Mullen said. “Storefronts are going to get sued.” California Senate Bill 420 clarified California Proposition 215 and established the California medical marijuana program. The bill requires counties to implement a voluntary patient identification card system and protects patients and their caregivers from arrest for marijuana cultivation and patient use.

Mullen said these state laws do not allow someone to open a “pot shop” that patients go to once a month. Read more: Coast News Group – Last medical marijuana storefront shut down.

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