Visalia Pot Shop Owner Prepares for Legal Showdown

November 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A businessman's bold move is setting up a legal showdown in Visalia. Medical marijuana is being openly sold in Visalia.From jars filled with marijuana, to a California business license and menus on the wall, Bryan Ruiz's Visalia medical marijuana dispensary, Central Cali Caregivers, is officially open for business.

Ruiz said, "Oh this is a thing I came up with. I was working in a laboratory for a long time and I came up with 24 Carat Gold Marijuana."

Ruiz also invested in security measures like a metal detector and cameras. Ruiz said, "I'm trying to get it out to people that are sick, not to people who don't need it. People who need it, they need to come here and have safe access to it."

Ruiz opened his dispensary on Tuesday, a day after the Visalia City Council voted for the second time to temporarily ban marijuana dispensaries.

The council adopted a 45 day moratorium back in October, and extended it by another 10 months on Monday night.

City officials say they need more time to review state and federal laws and a 2006 ordinance that established zoning rules and a permit process for medical marijuana dispensaries in Visalia.

"They said I'm not going to open in my lifetime, that's what they're saying. So that sounds personal to me. They just don't like me and that's where they're taking it," said Ruiz.

Ruiz's defiance has not gone unnoticed by Visalia police.

Chief Colleen Mestas says her officers spent Thursday trying to track Ruiz down to talk to him and learn more about his operation.

Chief Mestas said, "The last resort would be an arrest in my opinion. I would like to come up with some type of agreement with them so that they can learn to work within the system."

"They don't want me here, but I'm not gonna quit. I gotta fight for my rights and my people's rights," said Ruiz.


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