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September 17, 2009

Lawsuits, threats of preliminary injunctions? For now, C3 Collective will stay open

Is C3 Collective on its way out, as fellow Walnut Creek blogger The DubC suggests?

The city would like Walnut Creek’s first medical marijuana dispensary to cease its operations, until the city has a chance, through a program it authorized at its City Council meeting Tuesday night, to study the various legal implications of having such a business in town, before it gives its go-ahead for any such storefront to open its doors.

The city filed a lawsuit in Contra Costa County Superior Court, asking a judge to order C3 Collective to halt its cannabis dispensing operations. Realistically, any trial and final decision for this lawsuit is a year out, confirmed City Attorney Paul Valle-Riestra. The city is likely to seek a preliminary injunction, asking the court to suspend C3’s operation pending resolution of the lawsuit.

As of Thursday night, C3’s doors were still open for business, and its staff remained determined to provide its “medication” to patients in need, an employee said. I tried to reach C3 Collective CEO Brian Hyman, but he was in meetings, including in an interview with KTVU, whose report on the latest twist in this controversy you can view here.

C3 Collective is currently violating the city’s 45-day moratorium on medical cannabis dispensaries and is racking up fines of $500 fines. On Wednesday, Hyman told me that his dispensary was determined to remain open, mostly out of obligation to its clients who suffer chronic pain and other medical conditions whose symptoms are alleviated by the use of marijuana.

In any event, if C3 Collective shuts its doors, because it can't afford this legal battle, another collective is posed to step in and take its place.

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting Larry Flick of Greenleaf said he plans to open what he calls a "wellness center." C3 Collective also billed itself as a wellness center. Like C3, Flick said his shop would dispense medical marijuana, as well as offer massage, yoga and counseling. Flick said he plans to work with the city on opening his center.

A major criticism of C3 among Walnut city staff and leaders is that it opened this summer and billed itself as a “wellness center,” with no mention, initially, that it would also provide medical marijuana, Valle-Riestra said. The city only learned indirectly that this pot club had opened in town, and the city had nothing on its books to say how it would regulate shops that distribute medical marijuana. Walnut Creek laws also prohibit activity in town that is banned by federal law.

So, the city asked for the 45-day moratorium and on Tuesday voted to establish this staff work program to study if and how to allow pot clubs to open in town, including the zoning and legal implications.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The fines are for violating zoning laws, not for violating the moratorium. Once the injuction is granted, which is likely but not 100%, police can arrest the operators for violating a court order.

MickeyMartin said...

It is always bad policy to "defy" the folks you hope to work with and threaten to sue them before finding out if they even have an issue. To each their own.

Jojo Potato said...

The city had the lawsuit all ready to go while the council pretended to be debating the issue. What a bunch of hypocrites. Yes Sue, as you said you are the oldest, so please go away.

www.pcwebsite.net said...

It can't work in reality, that's exactly what I think.