By: Eugene Davidovich
SAN MARCOS – On Friday of this week, San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert Dahlquist granted an emergency injunction against St. Bernard’s Provisions medical marijuana collective located in the City of San Marcos in San Diego County forcing the collective to close its doors.
Despite numerous demands by patients, advocates, and concerned citizens, the City of San Marcos has refused to accept Proposition 215 as law and is engaged in a medical marijuana eradication campaign.
In 2006 the San Marcos City Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries in all zones within the city’s jurisdictional limits and specifically instructed the city’s business tax office not issue permits conditional or otherwise for such use.
Advocates, patients, and concerned citizens alike have called the San Marcos Ban unconstitutional and a slap in the face of California voters who overwhelmingly passed Proposition 215 in 1996. Since 1996 support for medical marijuana across California has continued to grow with the most recent polls showing over 70% of Californian’s in support of medical use.
Just in the last couple months the City of San Marcos has spent several hundred thousand dollars on this effort with the cases against MMSC, Inc., and now St. Bernard’s Provisions.
On Friday December 3, members of St. Bernard’s collective were in court for a hearing on the City’s emergency injunction. The courtroom was full with over a dozen supporters, patients, and members of Americans for Safe Access, who took time on a weekday afternoon to show up in support of St. Bernards and against the injunction and illegal ban.
The hearing was scheduled to begin at 2:30 but got underway an hour late. Jeffery Lake of Lake APC, a local medical marijuana law firm which specializes in assisting patients in navigating the state’s medical marijuana laws represented St. Bernard’s Provisions that day.
The hearing began with the Judge going over the city’s complaint. The city was claiming that because St. Bernard’s business license application stated the collective provided “medical provision” rather than “medical marijuana” it was violation of the city’s code. The Judge failed to recognize or even discuss the fact that the city specifically instructed its business license office to deny all applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Mr. Lake explained to the Judge that the collective was truthful in their application and in fact was providing medical provisions including medical cannabis to patients and that there was already a hearing set for December 9 with the city to determine if medical provisions could include medical marijuana according to the city’s definition.
Lake also argued that the city had failed to prove that this was an emergency. There had not been a single complaint about the facility, there was no detriment or harm caused to anyone from the collective’s existence, and in fact the city’s action in itself was a detriment. Lake argued the injunction would cause harm to patients, the landlord, and others in the community who directly benefit from safe and reliable access that St. Bernard’s Provisions brought to San Marcos.
The City Attorney hardly spoke at all as she could tell that Judge Dahlquist had made up his mind about the hearing long before it began.
Judge Dahlquist concluded that the collective should have applied for the license as a medical marijuana dispensary and after being denied, should have sued the city for denying it the license intern challenging the city’s ban, rather than “not being truthful in the application”.
In the end after Lake presented countless arguments, facts, and evidence clearly proving there was no justification for the emergency injunction, and that the collective was in fact truthful, Judge Dahlquist still sided with the bias and granted the city’s request forcing the collective to close.
Patients, concerned citizens, and members of the collective alike were disappointed at the decision and vowed to continue the fight for safe access and a reasonable ordinance regulating dispensaries in San Marcos rather than a ban.