Judge Orders Fresno Medical Pot Stores to Close

October 10, 2009 12:29:19 AM PDT
A judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday that effectively shuts down nine pot dispensaries in the city of Fresno.        |   Watch Video Above for More Information on this Story   |

The judge's ruling enforces a zoning ordinance that makes marijuana collectives illegal because they violate federal law, but it hasn't shut them down just yet.

The restraining order was supposed to be effective immediately, but a few of the dispensaries were still in business Friday night and they're planning to open again Saturday.

The California Herbal Relief Center closed up shop Friday, but at its regular closing time, and not because of the judge's restraining order.

The order came down at around noon, but CHRC was still serving patients when we reported the story on Action News at Six.

"People have been trying to stock up so they can go as long as possible without having to buy their medication from drug dealers," said CHRC owner Sean Dwyer.

Medical marijuana users are still allowed to light up, but the judge's order means the city of Fresno can enforce the zoning ordinance saying dispensaries are breaking the law if they sell pot to patients.

The city ordinance applies to two or more people dispensing, sharing and so forth marijuana," said Doug Sloan of the city attorney's office.

Sloan says the dispensaries are violating the restraining order by staying open, but the city is not planning to send in police to shut it down and the dispensaries say nobody's told them yet.

But both sides are preparing to fight again in court.

Action News was there when an attorney for one of the dispensaries served the city attorney's office with a notice of appeal.

Dispensary owners think they'll win that appeal and they're also excited about a state proposition in the works to legalize any use of marijuana, not just medicinal.

"It would totally take that money away from the drug dealers and the drug cartels that [Fresno Police] Chief [Jerry] Dyer is so worried about and it would help clean up the streets a bit," said Dwyer.

The city attorney's office says all nine pot dispensaries it targeted should be closed, but it'll be up to the judge to punish them.

Two new pot dispensaries are not included in the restraining order and the city plans to go after them next.

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