A marijuana dispensary currently operating under a Measure O license can remain open until the state’s Fourth District Court of Appeal decides whether to uphold or overturn a judge’s invalidation of the voter-approved ballot measure.
Judge David Cohn on Friday, April 27, kept the existing stay in place, even as San Bernardino staffers accept applications for commercial cannabis businesses under a new ordinance that is being challenged in court by a Pacific Palisades woman who claims certain requirements violate due process.
“This is a messy situation,” Cohn said in court Friday.
As all parties await the appeal process, San Bernardino can award cannabis-related business permits under its new law.
Should a business owner receive a license during this grey period, the dispensary operating with a Measure O license would be required to comply with the recently-adopted requirements to ensure uniformity among competitors – so long as the requirements are not vindictive or overbearing, Cohn said.
Conditions of that sort could be challenged in court.
Continuing the stay is “disappointing in that our view is the court is meaning well, but is trying to split the baby,” Ben Eilenberg, Smith’s attorney, said Friday. “And by doing so is violating California state law. The issue will now be dealt with by the Court of Appeal. And hopefully we’ll hear from them within a month.”
Captain Jack’s, a dispensary at the Flesh Club on Hospitality Drive, is the only dispensary in town operating under a Measure O license, City Attorney Gary Saenz has said.
Earlier this month, San Bernardino staffers began accepting cannabis-related business applications; as many as 17 licenses can be awarded this first year under the new ordinance.
Smith sued the city in March to overturn that ordinance, which she claims creates a monopoly for certain cannabis license types and bans people who have had anything to do with cannabis in the past from receiving a permit.
Cohn is expected to review any such discriminatory behavior by the city ahead of a May 9 hearing.
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