A medical marijuana dispensary may reopen in Murrieta, but not in its former location, a Riverside County Superior Court Judge ruled Tuesday.
Judge John Vineyard ruled Cooperative Medical Group can not operate at 26690 Madison Ave., Suite 103, because it is within 600 feet of Sky High Party Zone, according to a report from The Californian newspaper. Sky High caters to young children with its indoor play setting.
Attorneys for the city of Murrieta and CMG told The Californian they believe Vineyard based his ruling on the pending California Supreme Court review of whether cities and counties have the authority to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana for medical use was approved by California voters in 1996.
This week's decision was one of several handed down in a now months-long lawsuit brought against CMG co-owners Charles Thompson and Beth Burns by the city of Murrieta—but one of a few in their favor.
"It was a pretty large victory," Burns told Patch Thursday. "The judge is doing the right thing...he has to look at the law."
The dispensary , in violation of a city ordinance that bans such operations. CMG was shut down two weeks later when against it.
Then when an appeals court lifted the injunction only to be less than two weeks later.
The city's legal battle with CMG was the first of two it is now embroiled in—the second being with Greenhouse Cannabis Club, which on Jefferson Avenue. The Murrieta Police Department was at GHCC, as part of its enforcement of the city's ban.
Murrieta City Attorney Bob Mahlowitz told Patch in February he predicted that for the next one and half years—until the Supreme Court rules—cities' fates where the bans are concerned would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
"I am hoping we will start to see some uniform response. We will see what the the Supreme Court does. But until the Supreme Court acts, there hasn't been a change in law," Mahlowitz said at the time.
Despite this latest ruling in favor of CMG, Burns said she and Thompson do not have immediate plans to reopen. CMG purchased the suite on Madison Avenue, so they now have to prepare to lease it out.
"It is a little disappointing that we can't go back to our building," Burns said.
When and if they do reopen, she said it would be in a Murrieta location—just not near a school, park, church or children's play area.
"We most likely will come back to Murrieta because that is where the ruling is, that is where is the fight began," she said.