A 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.