A medical marijuana dispensary in Murrieta will have to remain closed pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed against it by the city.
In the latest of legal battles between the city and medical marijuana operations, Cooperative Medical Group, or CMG Outreach, was denied a request for postponement of its court-ordered closure. CMG had filed the petition following stay that it remain closed pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the city.
But the 4th Appellate District Court on Friday upheld the city's injunctive order against the dispensary.
Beth Burns, co-owner of CMG, said they have not given up on their hopes of operating the dispensary at 26690 Madison Ave., Suite 103.
"It would be nice to go back," Burns told Patch. "It is nice to have a location."
Currently, CMG is operating a delivery service in the Los Angeles and Hollywood area. The pair is licensed from the State Board of Equalization to sell marijuana for medical purposes.
"There are a lot of patients in Murrieta—a lot of them," Burns said.
She said all the legal rhetoric surrounding medical marijuana facilities is disheartening.
"If there is a law in California, why are the cities so against it?" she said. "Somebody is going to have to decide who is right. That is why there are so many cases."
For instance, the California Supreme Court decided in January that it would review how cities and counties regulate medical marijuana, along with the continued conflict between state and federal law.
Murrieta City Attorney Bob Mahlowitz said he learned of the latest development in the CMG case by email.
"For the forseeable future, there is no opportunity for CMG to operate in Murrieta," Mahlowitz told Patch in a phone interview Wednesday.
Interestingly, CMG and a second medical marijuana operation that opened in Murrieta, Greenhouse Cannabis Club, are both due in court Feb. 17.
Greenhouse Cannabis Club, or GHCC, was when a Riverside County Superior Court denied the city's request for a temporary restraining order on the facility.
Mahlowitz said while both dispensaries are in violation of city ordinances, there are big differences between the two cases.
"CMG violated a ban ordinance," Mahlowitz said. "And where it was located [within 500 feet of a children's play area] it was an actual nuisance."
Following the arrival of CMG, the city of Murrieta recognized it needed to tighten its ordinance against medical marijuana facilities, he said. So it enacted a temporary moratorium on dispensaries and medical marijuana-related operations.
"Imposing a temporary moratorium is allowed under state law," he said.
GHCC violated that moratorium when it opened, he said.
As for the possible outcome of the two cases, Mahlowitz 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."