City goes after dispensary landlords

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A string of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city of Chula Vista are facing legal action to permanently cease their operations.

Under Chula Vista Municipal Code 5.66, marijuana dispensaries are prohibited from operating in the city of Chula Vista.

The city argues that four dispensaries — Chula Vista Meds, Chula Vista Patients Association, Chula Vista General Holistic and South Bay Greens — are in violation of the city’s code regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.

In the complaint against Chula Vista Meds, 1067 Broadway, property owners Sabri P. Shamoun and Mary S. Shamoun are listed as defendants.

The property owners are listed in the complaint because under Chula Vista Municipal Code they are the responsible party for “allowing, creating and/or maintaining violations of the Chula Vista Municipal Code.”

Robert S. Lion and Lorraine S. Van Cleave are listed as property owners for the remaining three dispensaries. A ground lease on the property is assigned to John I. Nobel and Mahin Nobel who are also listed on the complaint.

Business owners for Chula Vista Patients Association, Chula Vista General Holistic and South Bay Greens were unidentified.

Earlier this month a San Diego Superior Court judge granted the city a preliminary injunction, which gives a temporary closure for Chula Vista Meds.

Deputy City Attorney Megan McClurg said the judge is expected to sign the injunction sometime this week in which the city will post a closure notice on the property and order it to shut down.

“The injunctions were filed because our code enforcement had been attempting to notify and cite the dispensaries for violations but they had not responded,” McClurg said. “They haven’t ceased operations so we filed the complaints for injunctions since our code enforcement efforts didn’t appear to be working.”

A trial date for Chula Vista Meds has not been scheduled yet.

Shamoun referred questions to an attorney who did not return messages seeking comment.

The court is expected to hear the city’s injunction for the three other dispensaries in June.
McClurg said dispensary owners in Chula Vista do not have a business license to operate and if they applied for one they would be denied.

When a dispensary opens up shop in the city, McClurg said, the usual procedure is for code enforcement to go out and issue a notice of violation. If the property owners don’t comply with the notice, then the property owner is cited.
McClurg said if the property owners don’t show any willingness to abide then they go to litigation.

McClurg said it’s not fair for a dispensary to open when there are businesses in the city operating legally.

“I think the issue is that there are other business operations that comply with the law, that spend the money to get permits and operate their businesses,” she said. “And I think that when you have other businesses come in without the proper permits and a violation of the law, I would see that as a large problem for the city. It’s unlawful; they’re not permitted so that’s definitely the problem.”

City goes after dispensary landlords