The city of Pacific has asked the Pierce County Superior Court to order the shutdown of three marijuana dispensaries in the north Pierce County community.
Pacific City Attorney Carol Morris filed separate complaints on April 22 against three dispensaries, Green Meds Collective, Chronic Solutions Cooperative and New Millenium, asking the Pierce County court to order the closure of the three medical operations, to impose civil penalties on their owners and to enjoin them from reopening.
The court filings came after more than a year of wrangling between the city and the dispensaries. Those marijuana operations previously had appealed the city’s order to shut them down to a city hearings examiner. He ruled against them in early February. Morris said the lawsuits filed last week were the logical next step in enforcing the city’s rules.
The city says the three operations are violating city ordinances that forbid marijuana sales operations in Pacific, that they have failed to obtain business licenses for their stores and that they have not secured conditional-use permits to operate the businesses.
Doug Hiatt, a Seattle attorney who has represented Pacific marijuana businesses in previous battles with the city, said the filings were news to him.
“They didn’t give us the courtesy of a call to tell us what they intended to do,” he said. “We have been attempting to negotiate some kind of compromise with the city.”
Tom Smith, who answered the phone at Chronic Solutions, said he too was unaware that the city had moved to pull the plug on the business.
“I don’t have any knowledge that they did that,” he said.
Hiatt said a forced closure of the three businesses would leave many chronically ill persons without a reasonably priced source of medicinal marijuana.
Morris said a ban on marijuana sales in Pacific doesn’t harm those who needed medicinal marijuana for pain relief and other uses because marijuana would remain available in nearby towns.
Hiatt countered that the closure of medicinal marijuana operations would be another step by government to drive the medicinal marijuana business to the state-licensed and heavily taxed recreational marijuana stores.
State law requires medical marijuana dispensaries to have state licenses or close by July 1. The three stores in Pacific have not applied for licenses, and the city appears to be worried that they won’t close this summer. Morris noted that new state law allows “collective gardens,” marijuana grows created by a maximum of four people who need medicinal marijuana. She suggested that law might provide a loophole which dispensaries might try to exploit.
The three Pacific marijuana stores are in close proximity to one another in a strip mall on Stewart Road Southeast. Although they operate close together, they are not commonly owned.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663