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San Diego judge orders nine pot dispensaries to close

October 5, 2011 |  6:25 pm

Pot A San Diego judge Wednesday ordered nine medical marijuana dispensaries to shut down, ruling that the operations violate city zoning laws.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager granted a request by San Diego City Atty. Jan Goldsmith to order the closures. Injunction requests against four other dispensaries were delayed until next week so hearings can be scheduled.

"We have shut down about 40 illegal marijuana dispensaries in the past 12 months," Goldsmith said. "But we have a lot more work to do."

Even after the nine dispensaries close, the city has more than 150 marijuana dispensaries.

What the city does not have is an ordinance regulating where marijuana dispensaries can open.

The City Council rescinded its ordinance rather than permit an initiative supported by marijuana activists from reaching the ballot.

The activists said the city's ordinance was too restrictive and had led a signature-gathering campaign to qualify a repeal for the ballot.

Goldsmith's stand against medical marijuana dispensaries has been backed by U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy.

Duffy sent a letter to the dispensaries targeted by Goldsmith warning that, under federal law, the operators could face criminal charges and their personal property, including the buildings in which the businesses operate, could be seized.

"These penalties and remedies apply regardless of the purported purposes of the dispensary or the uses for which marijuana is purportedly sold and distributed," Duffy wrote.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A marijuana plant

Credit: Drug Enforcement Administration

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