Judge to rule on closure of Costa Mesa marijuana dispensaries
An Orange County Superior Court judge next week is expected to rule on whether Costa Mesa can ban marijuana dispensaries.
Judge David R. Chaffee will rule on whether to permit the city to shut down five marijuana dispensaries on Fair Drive as nuisances, but his decision could have broader implications, said Elena Gerli of Jones & Mayer, the law firm with which Costa Mesa contracts.
If Chaffee dismisses the city's argument that the dispensaries are nuisances because Costa Mesa has no zoning that allows them, he essentially will be ruling that California cities cannot ban dispensaries permitted under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, Gerli said.
The city's position, however, is that amendments to state code that took effect Jan. 1 allow that very thing: marijuana dispensary regulation at the local level. Costa Mesa has an ordinance banning dispensaries under zoning law that considers them a nuisance. The defense argues state law only allows for strict regulation, not an outright ban.
-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot / Times Community News
Photo: Medicinal marijuana is seen at a dispensary. Credit: Los Angeles Times