Pubdate: Sun, 31 Jan 2016
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Orange County Register
Author: Brooke Edwards Staggs


LAKE FOREST - After a few quiet years, Lake Forest is again fighting 
to keep medical marijuana dispensaries out of town.

The city has filed a lawsuit in hopes of shutting down a dispensary 
that's operating despite a citywide ban. The Green Room LLC has been 
distributing medical marijuana out of a small, nondescript suite in 
the Canada Business Center on Lambert Street, according to the 
lawsuit filed Jan. 15 in Orange County Superior Court.

The city's lawsuit also is suing the property's landlords: PS 
Business Parks, a Glendale-based commercial real estate firm, and 
Acquiport Three Corp., a Delaware company that merged with PS 
Business Parks nearly a decade ago.

"The goal is to get the marijuana dispensary completely locked down 
and have the property barred from being used as a dispensary for up 
to a year," said attorney Matthew Richardson, who's representing Lake 
Forest in the suit.

Robin Mather, who oversees Southern California operations for PS 
Business Parks, said she couldn't comment on the pending litigation. 
A phone number for The Green Room that's listed with multiple 
dispensary directories is disconnected.

There are no signs for Suite 109 at 22651 Lambert St. Open the door, 
however, and the odor is unmistakeable. The Cameras are fixed on the 
door. There's a buzzer next to a frosted window. Press it and a 
smiling face appears, asking visitors if they have filled out patient 

On Jan. 22, a woman who identified herself as a volunteer said The 
Green Room had left two weeks earlier, with new management now in 
charge. She said the new collective doesn't have a name, preferring 
to stay low-key.

That makes sense given that Lake Forest banned all marijuana-related 
business - including dispensaries and deliveries - in 2013, after the 
Supreme Court ruled cities had the right to do so.

Just a few years before, the city was locked in a battle with 
dispensaries that had set up shop across Lake Forest. The city spent 
hundreds of thousands of dollars to get rid of nearly 40 
dispensaries, with the last one known at the time shuttered in 
November 2011 after multiple raids by law enforcement.

"The Green Room is really the first store that has popped up since 
that time," said Hannah Shin-Heydorn, spokeswoman for the city.

City officials served notice to the location, the lawsuit states, 
letting dispensary owners know the business was illegal and demanding 
that they "cease and desist." The claim alleges The Green Room 
continued doing business anyway and "threatened" to keep doing so 
unless the city got a court order to stop it.

A worker at EcoShield Pest Control next door said the dispensary has 
been a "decent" neighbor and hasn't caused any problems for his business.

Lake Forest is asking the courts to issue an injunction to shut down 
the business and declare the site a public nuisance, alleging it's 
"injurious to health, indecent and offensive to the senses." That 
would entitle the city to keep the location closed for up to a year 
so another dispensary can't play a "shell game" and take The Green 
Room's place, Richardson said.

The lawsuit is also asking for a civil penalty of up to $25,000 each 
charged to The Green Room, Acquiport Three Corp. and PS Business Parks.

"The city takes seriously its prohibition of all marijuana activity 
and will aggressively pursue any violation of its local zoning laws," 
Mayor Andrew Hamilton said in an email.
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