Pubdate: Sun, 24 Feb 2013
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2013 Record Searchlight
Author: Jim Schultz


A lawsuit filed against Shasta County earlier this year in Superior 
Court by a medical marijuana collective in Burney shuttered by the 
county's pot shop ban has moved to federal court.

And the Irvine-based attorney representing the county Board of 
Supervisors and others named as defendants in the lawsuit has already 
filed a motion seeking to have it dismissed.

That motion, which claims the lawsuit fails to state any claims for 
relief against the defendants, is scheduled to be considered April 17 
in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

Redding attorney Michael A. Scheibli, who represents Christopher Dale 
Staffin and the Medicine Man Collective Spiritual Center Corp., said 
Friday he believes the county moved the suit to federal court to 
"prejudice the case" against his client.

But he was not surprised.

"I would have done the same thing," he said.

Jeffrey V. Dunn, who represents the county, said U.S. District Court 
was a more appropriate venue based on the federal nature of the case.

The lawsuit, which specifically names the county, its board of 
supervisors, Sheriff Tom Bosenko and three sheriff's deputies and 
detectives as defendants, was filed Superior Court Jan. 7 and moved 
to federal court on Feb. 14.

In his lawsuit, Staffin claims, among other allegations, that the 
county conspired to deprive him and the corporation of their 
contractual, constitutional and state rights by enacting the pot shop 
ban with the intent to run the collective out of business.

The Burney collective was the only one in the unincorporated county 
areas when the ban was approved.

The suit also alleges county law enforcement officials maliciously 
and oppressively harassed Staffin with indifference to his rights.

Although the lawsuit does not specify a damage amount, Staffin has 
said the county's ban on pot shops would have robbed the collective 
of about $17.2 million by this year and that his lawsuit would seek 
that amount.

The collective closed its Main Street doors in May 2011 after being 
evicted following implementation of the pot shop ban in 2010 and its 
finalization the following year.

Meanwhile, Shasta County supervisors decided earlier this month they 
won't form an advisory committee to consider revamping the county's 
medical marijuana rules or enact rules to bar outdoor growing.

The county's first growth ordinance was adopted in 2011 and limited 
indoor grows to detached, nonresidential structures while capping 
outdoor grows at between 60 and 360 square feet based on parcel size.

In January county department heads recommended the board consider 
banning outdoor gardens altogether because of complaints about their 
smell and potential to attract thieves.

But supervisors decided to forgo any action and wait for court 
rulings in a number of pending medical pot cases.
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