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Judge bars city of L.A. from taking legal action against landlord of medical marijuana dispensary

October 4, 2010 |  5:33 pm

A judge barred Los Angeles officials Monday from taking legal action against the landlord of a medical marijuana dispensary that is part of a lawsuit challenging the city’s ordinance.

The temporary restraining order came after the city attorney’s office sent letters last month to 45 landlords warning that they were renting to illegal dispensaries and threatening them with an escalating list of penalties, including daily fines, jail time and loss of the occupancy permit.

Natural Ways Always, a dispensary on National Boulevard in the Palms neighborhood, went to court last week to ask for the order. The ruling, issued by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, affects only that dispensary but could reassure other landlords that they do not have to evict dispensaries that are in the middle of court proceedings.

“To start pushing on landlords and putting them in fear of losing their property and imprisonment is going way too far,” said David Welch, the dispensary’s lawyer.

Asha Greenberg, an assistant city attorney, said the letter was sent to landlords for dispensaries that the city wants to shut down and that have been the source of complaints.

"We were not mandating that they take any action based on the letters," she said. "We were just outlining what the law was in this area." 

-- John Hoeffel