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San Diego judge: Landlords can evict pot dispensaries

November 7, 2011 |  2:54 pm

A landlord in San Diego can evict a medical marijuana dispensary because under city zoning laws, pot Pot-blogdispensaries are not legal anywhere in the city, a Superior Court judge has ruled.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager, in a decision released Monday, said it was permissible for Kimber Investment Group to evict the Medibloom dispensary from the building that the investment group owns in a Rancho Bernardo shopping center.

"Cities ... are the arbiter of zoning laws," Prager wrote. "There's no place in the city of San Diego, including the shopping center in Rancho Bernardo, where a medical marijuana dispensary is a permissible use. It is therefore illegal."

The San Diego City Council passed a zoning ordinance for medical marijuana dispensaries, but marijuana activists found it too restrictive and mounted a successful petition drive to put the issue to a public vote.

Rather than put the issue on the ballot, the council rescinded the ordinance. The result has been to strengthen the city attorney's aggressive stand to force marijuana dispensaries out of the city.

Federal prosecutors have also stepped up enforcement of federal law that criminalizes possession of marijuana.

In his decision, Prager noted that neighbors have complained about increased crime since the dispensary moved in.

City Atty. Jan Goldsmith noted that "building owners have been put on notice by the U.S. attorney that they must remove these illegal dispensaries or risk loss of their buildings under asset forfeiture."

Prager's decision, he said, removes the legal argument that dispensaries are permissible in San Diego under state law.


At UCLA, Asian-style diversity on the menu

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marijuana at a California dispensary. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press