Pubdate: Sat, 31 Jul 2010
Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Lodi News-Sentinel
Author: Maggie Creamer


A Galt marijuana dispensary will have to temporarily close if a
judge's proposed ruling stands.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang issued a temporary
restraining order against the Galt Wellness Center, requiring the pot
dispensary to close while the court process proceeds, which could take
longer than a year.

The center has five days to respond, and then the judge will make a
final decision, said George Mull, the attorney for the collective.
Chang most likely will make a decision late next week.

For now, the center remains open. If the temporary restraining order
stands, Mull said the collective will most likely wait to appeal the
decision until another court case is decided in late August.

The case, Qualified Patients Association v. City of Anaheim, is before
the 4th District Court of Appeal and could decide whether local cities
and agencies can ban medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

"This is a developing area of law," Mull said "There's a lot of
ambiguity on the legislation."

He was concerned the collective could suffer financially if it is
closed while preparing for trial. Currently, there is more than a year
delay before a case could go to trial in Sacramento County, Mull said.

"For a small collective, it is hard for them to afford to do that," he

One option the collective is considering is a home delivery service to
support the business if it forced to close until the court case is

The dispensary opened on May 18 at 520 Lincoln Way, near the Galt Post
Office. It is a nonprofit collective where growers sell cannabis to
the dispensary, which in turn sells it on consignment to patients with
prescriptions for medical marijuana.

The city immediately filed a lawsuit because it says the business is
not allowed under city code. In July 2009, the Galt City Council
passed an ordinance outlawing any building or location where someone
gives or sells medical marijuana to two or more patients with
identification cards or primary caregivers.

Temporary restraining orders are granted based on whether the
plaintiff will most likely succeed in the court case and whether or
not granting the injunction could harm the plaintiff.

Galt Police Chief Loren Cattolico said the dispensary opening is not
so much of a police issue because medical marijuana is allowed under
the law.

"They tried to go around the rules. The issues here isn't whether I
support medical marijuana. The issue is whether businesses need to
follow the zoning laws of the city," Cattolico said.
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