state appellate court overturned an Orange County Superior Court judgment last week against a medicinal marijuana dispensary shut down by the city of Dana Point for alleged illegal operations in 2011.

Garrison Williams, former owner of the dispensary Holistic Health, carried his case to the 4th District Court of Appeals, after a May 2011 summary judgment ruling—by Superior Court Judge David R. Chaffee—awarded more than $2 million to the city.

The summary judgment ruling meant the case never went to trial—such rulings are entered when no factual issues remain to be tried.

In the case, the city alleged the dispensary operated illegally as a for-profit business. But the dispensary has held that it operated—under California law—as a non-profit cooperative. An assertion Williams argued the superior court failed to consider relevant evidence on.

The appellate court agreed.

“The record shows, it remained a disputed issue of triable fact whether Holistic Health made a profit from distributing medical marijuana or instead was organized and operated as a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation,” Associate Justice Richard M. Aronson wrote in the appellate court’s opinion.

Dana Point City Attorney Patrick Munoz declined to comment.

Alison Minet Adams, William’s attorney called the ruling “a vindication” of her client’s “right to present evidence in his defense” of charges she felt were unjustly brought.

The city could now appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court, take it back to a trial court or leave it be. Adams said, with the collectives being closed for two years, she didn’t know what the city would gain by trying to see this through. Currently, there are cases in front of the California Supreme Court dealing with city’s powers to regulate, ban or control the operation of medical marijuana collectives.

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comments (2)

  • Wow…it’s amazing how $7M gets reduced to $2.5M with appeals still pending. You wouldn’t know due to this publication neglecting to mention it, but in the case of DP v. Beach Cities Collective the city’s award went from $2.5M to $608K plus attorneys fees with an appeal pending. What a great litigator Munoz is. Good luck collecting the $1.9M from The Point Alternative Care, they no longer exist. If you feel like throwing up, go down the city and ask them how much of your hard erned tax dollars have been paid to Munoz. You’ll be amazed. Keep up the great work city council.

  • The city is a bunch of good ole boy network lining the pocket of a friend (Munoz). Wonder how much kick beck the city council is getting from his fees… Estimates now are getting close to 2MM they have spent with nothing to show… Tell me where the justification is for this? They won’t ever discuss any of this while council is in session. They go behind closed doors claiming it’s pending litigation and hide behind doors while wasting tax payers dollars. . Why are the people of Dana Point not pissed off about this? Why are they not demanding the heads of the council members and mayor? 2MM could have been spent in a much better way to benefit the city. Why have they not fired Munoz. He has lost every case in the higher courts on this issue. Only way he got the judgements in the first place is by corrupt OC judges he plays golf with… The city is going to end up owing millions to these guys for damages and violating their rights as California citizens. The city should drop all of this, settle and get on with more important issues. Or maybe they are to stupid to see if they continue they not only will have spent millions but will have judgements against the city of 5-6 million more… Real Smart Dana Point

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