Pubdate: Sun, 20 Jun 2010
Source: Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Daily Pilot
Author: Joseph Serna


Medical marijuana advocacy group seeks writ of mandate,  hoping to get
to Court of Appeal faster.

In an attempt to "dot the I's and cross the T's," a  medical marijuana
advocacy group is seeking a writ of  mandate to be licensed as a
business in Costa Mesa on  top of a lawsuit they filed against the
city last  month.

"The fastest road to an appeal is the writ process,"  said attorney
Anthony Curiale, who is representing the  Newport Mesa Patients Assn.
in their filings against  Costa Mesa.

On June 7, the group filed a writ of mandate requesting  a judge order
Costa Mesa city officials accept their  application for a business
license and the fee that  goes with it.

The collective has more than 200 medical marijuana

"We're asking the superior court to do one of two  things: order the
city to accept the application or  issue us a business license because
we're entitled to  one," Curiale said.

Marijuana dispensaries have been operating illegally in  Costa Mesa
since last year. Many were given licenses  issued for alternative
health or nutrition businesses.

Curiale seemed confident his writ of mandate will be  rejected. But
that's all part of the process. Where he  plans to fight Costa Mesa's
law is in the Court of  Appeal. He said a writ of mandate request
would get  them before a panel of appeals judges faster than a
typical lawsuit.

In a lawsuit filed in early May, the group sued Costa  Mesa over its
ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana  dispensaries in the city. The
group claims its not a  dispensary and the word "dispensary" is not
defined in  state and federal laws. The plaintiff in the case is  the
head of the collective, Robert Martinez.

Martinez claims Costa Mesa is depriving him of his  right to medical
treatment permitted under state law.

Last month, a federal judge rejected a lawsuit that  asserted
dispensaries in Costa Mesa and Lake Forest  were protected under the
Americans with Disabilities  Act guaranteeing access to public services.

Costa Mesa police began shutting down dispensaries this  year. There
are about 10 in the city, police said. 
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