Pubdate: Thu, 05 Apr 2012
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Record Searchlight
Author: Jenny Espino


Collectives Ban Still in Effect, Redding Says

City attorneys have filed a lawsuit against a medical marijuana 
dispensary that reopened its doors a week after a Shasta County 
Superior Court judge denied Redding's request for a preliminary 
injunction to order storefronts to close.

River Valley Collective opened at 3061 Churn Creek Road on March 21 
thinking that Judge Stephen Baker's March 14 decision invalidated the 
city's ban on storefront collectives.

The suit also names Hamid and Susan Vossoughi, who own the property 
the cannabis club is occupying, and who, like the River Valley 
owners, think the ban no longer needs to be followed.

To be sure, the ruling lets dispensaries continue to operate as their 
legal challenge to the city's ban continues toward a possible trial.

But city officials are warning little has changed regarding its 
ordinance, and the city will add parties to its lawsuit as necessary.

City Attorney Rick Duvernay said the city has received at least a 
dozen calls from people asking about opening new collectives.

"Our message back is consistent in that we say the city's ordinance 
has not been overturned by the judge, it is still valid law and 
collectives of 10 or more patients are not allowed in the city or in 
commercial zones," he said Wednesday in an email.

A River Valley owner Wednesday declined to comment.

The collective closed its doors on Placer Street last year before 
Redding's ban took effect Dec. 1. It wasn't alone. A number of 
collectives closed voluntarily.

"With the City Council's ban shot down, River Valley Collective is 
opening up with a brand new storefront!" the collective proclaimed on 
its website.

Duvernay said the owner of the Churn Creek property used to rent to a 
different collective that

closed. The owner settled with the city in December, Duvernay said.

"Now he is re-renting," Duvernay said, "apparently believing it is OK 
to do so after Judge Baker denied the preliminary injunction, 
although we have informed him it is not OK."

Redding issued permits for dispensaries for two years before enacting 
the ban last fall.

The ordinance was based on an appellate court ruling that a 
permitting system for dispensaries in Long Beach went far beyond 
Proposition 215 and conflicted with federal law.

Redding still allows patients to collectively grow medical marijuana 
in groups of nine or less.
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