Temecula targets alleged medical marijuana dispensary in lawsuit

Temecula lawyers are seeking large fines and legal restrictions against what they say is an illegal medical marijuana dispensary.

A court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning in the city’s civil lawsuit against the Fontana Patients’ Collective Association and the owners of the commercial building that houses the establishment. The case is the second the city has filed in recent weeks against a medical marijuana establishment.

While marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes with a doctor’s prescription in California, Temecula and other cities have banned dispensaries. Medical marijuana advocates say those bans are illegal.

In court papers filed April 4, the city alleges the association, which operated out of a storefront in the 27000 block of Jefferson Avenue, created a public nuisance by operating a dispensary under the name Temecula Caregivers Collective. The dispensary also lacked a business license and certificate of occupancy, the lawsuit alleged.

Representatives of the association and the landlord, described in court documents as the Marovic Family Trust, could not be reached for comment Friday. The storefront is closed.

The city convinced a court commission to impose a temporary restraining order on the establishment.

Lawyers with the city’s legal firm of Richards, Watson & Gershon are asking a judge to prevent the association from running a dispensary and to close the property for the year or force the defendants to pay the city a year’s worth of fair market rent.

Also, the city wants fines of up to $25,000 each imposed on the defendants, listed as the association, the trust, Petar and Rosy Marovic and Jeff Lowe, as well as the sale of items used to run the dispensary.

In addition, the property owners should be required to inform future tenants or buyers of the property about the restrictions against a dispensary, the city contends.

The lawsuit against the association is separate from another civil case filed against Cooperative Patients’ Services, a self-described medical marijuana co-op on the southern end of Old Town Front Street.

The city earlier this month won an injunction forbidding the establishment from making marijuana available anywhere in the city, operating without a valid certificate of occupancy or tax permit and “maintaining public nuisances” on its property. The order is being appealed.

A hearing is set for April 26 regarding the city’s accusations that the establishment sold marijuana in violation of a restraining order.

The establishment’s lawyers have denied the allegations, which if found to be true could result in $14,000 in fines and attorney’s fees.

via : The Press Enterprise


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