| Posted on Mon, February, 9th 2015 by THCFinder
Tony Jalali believes medical marijuana should be accessible. Still, he is evicting a small dispensary in an office complex under orders from Anaheim officials.
Meanwhile, in Costa Mesa, Joyce Weitzberg is hoping to reopen her cannabis collective in a town where leaders have reversed course and are now taking steps to regulate and tax marijuana sales.
Between those cities is Santa Ana, where Cypress Hill rapper “B-Real” last week won a lottery that puts him on a path to legally distribute medical marijuana in the city.
Dazed and confused? There’s reason for that. Orange County communities are taking dramatically differing stands to deal with the proliferation of medicinal pot shops – nearly 19 years after voters approved a statewide measure legalizing medical marijuana.
“I think that discrepancy comes from a misunderstanding on one side, and more tolerance on the other,” said Steele Smith III, director of the Orange County Collective Alliance, an advocacy group for medical marijuana dispensaries in Orange County.
“On one hand, Anaheim has heavy-handed and egregious laws that will be detrimental to patients,” Smith said. “On the other, you’re seeking a progressive attitude for safe access and eliminating cannabis prohibition.”
ANAHEIM’S ‘GAME OF WHACK-A-MOLE’
Jalali’s case illustrates the costs and complexities of Anaheim’s 40 dispensary-related lawsuits in the last eight years.
Three years ago, the federal government and Anaheim each filed lawsuits against Jalali for leasing space to a medical marijuana dispensary. The dispensary subsequently closed because of the suits.
But a year later, a judge dismissed the federal government’s case. Still, Anaheim pushed ahead with its suit against Jalali, a software engineer.
In the meantime, another dispensary, Anaheim Holistic Care, leased an office eight months ago on the second floor of Jalali’s building, which also houses an insurance office, a dentist’s office and other businesses at Ball Road and Magnolia Avenue.
Last month, a Superior Court judge ruled that Jalali has to shut down Anaheim Holistic Care because Anaheim has the right to enforce its prohibition on dispensaries. His attorneys are appealing.
Jalali has since issued a 30-day eviction notice to the dispensary, which remains open. A hearing is scheduled for later this month to determine whether Jalali is in contempt of court for failing to immediately close the pot shop.
“As a property owner, I should be able to rent an office to anybody, but the city is preventing me from providing a safe haven for people who need medical marijuana,” Jalali said.