Judge: Gilroy Pot Club Open Illegally

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Jul 22, 2010  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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BERKELEY, CA - MARCH 25: One-ounce bags of medicinal marijuana are displayed at the Berkeley Patients Group March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified a ballot initiative late Wednesday to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana in the State of California after proponents of the measure submitted over 690,000 signatures. The measure will appear on the November 2 general election ballot. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. That's the approach Gilroy city officials took with the city's only medical marijuana clinic -- and it worked.

A judge on Wednesday ruled the Medileaf clinic in the South Bay city is operating illegally and should be shut down. The judge's ruling says the club does not meet the city's zoning rules.

For now, the collective is still open. It will take a few more legal steps before it will be permanently shuttered. The collective's director will likely challenge the judge'sruling.

Gilroy Mayor Al Pinheiro told the Central Coast News that the city wants to, "talk to Medileaf and see if we could do this in an amicable way, instead of sending law enforcement in to do the shutting down."

Pinheiro stressed that the closure has nothing to do with what happens inside Medileaf. They just never got the right license to operate the clinic, he says.

"Whether it's marijuana -- Medileaf, whether it's a lollypop shop, whatever it is, there are rules and regulations within our city that are set up by the city council," Pinheiro said, "and people need to adhere to those."

City officials have been after the Medileaf dispensary ever since it opened in November. At that time, the club's business license was questioned because the clinic's owners did not obtain a license before opening the establishment.

The cofounder of the dispensary told the Gilroy Dispatch that their attorney advised them they didn't need a business license because it's a nonprofit. But police say that's not the way the law works. Nonprofits still have to obtain a business license, they just won't have to pay fees for it, Gilroy police Sgt. Kurt Ashley said.
 

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