A Rancho Mirage medical marijuana dispensary that the city ordered to shut down by Saturday remains open and will now face a court order to close its doors permanently.
The attorney for the Rancho Mirage Safe Access and Wellness Center, though, argues Rancho Mirage has no right to tell his clients they need to leave since there's no law banning collectives in the city.
“The dispensary that I am representing isn't trying to break the law, because there isn't any law,” Joseph Rhea said Saturday. “Since (medical) marijuana is legal in the state of California, the degree in which cities and counties can regulate it is the question. You can't ban a legal act completely. You can zone it to death, but you can't ban it.”
The dispensary, 72-067 Highway 111, sits at the corner of Desert Drive.
Rancho Mirage City Attorney Steve Quintanilla agreed Saturday that there's no state law banning dispensaries, but the city banned them in early 2011.
He added that on Monday, his office would likely file paper work to shut down the dispensary.
“Marijuana dispensaries are not permitted in Rancho Mirage,” Quintanilla said.
Rhea contends that the city and residents Rancho Mirage just don't like the dispensary's highly visible location or proximity to a residential area.
“It's just a zoning question,” he said. “No one is claiming criminal activity.”
Rhea said his clients would work with the city to find a more discreet location, but Quintanilla again stressed dispensaries are prohibited in Rancho Mirage.
The California Supreme Court is considering several cases involving medical marijuana dispensaries, and its opinions may determine whether they're allowed in communities.
Rhea said his clients will close the dispensary if the court decides the bans are constitutional.
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