Fresno Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Served Lawsuits

August 27, 2009 12:04:36 AM PDT
The city of Fresno is taking swift action against medical marijuana facilities that have popped up in recent month. The city wants them shut down, but supporters say the dispensaries are perfectly legal.Fresno's budding medical marijuana scene may soon get snuffed out. On Tuesday the city served four dispensaries with lawsuits, and on Wednesday another four got served.

Attorney William Logan said, "What are patients supposed to do go to bulldog gang members to buy their medicine? What other alternatives do we have?"

Logan represents Med Mar Clinic ... the first facility to be sued by the city. He says there is no legal basis for the city's claims.

Logan said, "This is a state approved medicine prescribed by a doctor or physician yet you have to go out of town to buy your medicine. Why?"

City Attorney Charlotte Hylton Knoczal says these dispensaries are illegal because facilities must operate in areas zoned for medical businesses ... also the city says they have to meet state and federal law ... and the U.S. government doesn't recognize pot for medical purposes.

Konczal said, "They cannot comply at this point because of the conflict. The city has determined they need to stop doing that business."

However Logan says the city cannot enforce state or federal laws.

"The same reason Fresno can't make the speed limit on Highway 99 35 mph it's a state Highway ... this is a state law," said Logan.

Konczal says the city attorney would have gone after marijuana clinics sooner, but when many applied for business tax forms they were not upfront about what they were selling.

"A lot of them put that they were selling herbs, oils, candles, healing supplements that sort of thing," said Konczal.

Attorney William Logan believes this is a political attack and says businesses that meet zoning requirements will win in court. The city plans to serve all nine facilities with temporary restraining orders by the end of the week.

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