Emboldened by Appeals Court, 2 Lake Forest Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Reopen

Despite the city's enforcement and court moves against Lake Forest Wellness Center, the medical marijuana dispensary has kept it doors open through the ongoing appeals process--and was able to celebrate at least a partial victory as the last of 21 clinics in town still in operation.

Now, the dispensary has competition again.

Emboldened by Appeals Court, 2 Lake Forest Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Reopen
Illustration by Jay Brockman

Like Lake Forest Wellness Center, Vale Tudu Café is on the receiving end of a stay granted by Santa Ana's Fourth Appellate District of the state Court of Appeal, which at least temporarily halts a preliminary injunction by a Superior Court judge that shut down the dispensary.

Joining Vale Tudu Café in reopening its doors is Care Mutual (formerly GGECO) in Foothill Ranch, which is within Lake Forest city limits.

"I look at this as a great opportunity for the city and collectives to sit down and work out a plan for peaceful co-existence," attorney Christopher Glew, who represents the two dispensaries, tells the Orange County Register. (He previously chatted up our Nick Schou here.)

"It's one thing to extend the olive branch when we're on the losing end," Glew continues, "but we continue to extend it, even when we're winning. It's obvious our true intent is to find a way to co-exist without further litigation. We want regulation, patient access and everyone to be happy."

Harshing his mellow is Jeffrey Dunn, the attorney representing the city of Lake Forest, which sought the Superior Court relief to shut dispensaries down in town.

"This has been an important issue to the city," Dunn tells the Reg's Erika I. Ritchie. "They [dispensaries] create a whole host of problems for the city. They are not and never have been an allowable use."

It's too bad Dunn represents the powers-that-be and not the actual people. People like Molly Sanders, a 28-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita resident who was diagnosed with breast cancer eight months ago and uses medical marijuana to deal with extreme nausea brought on by her twice-weekly chemo therapy treatments.

She was one of the first people at Care Mutual's door when it reopened yesterday, Ritchie reveals.

"It's a blessing they're open again," Sanders reportedly said. "This is the only thing that helps me with my nausea. I didn't know how to get the medical marijuana when they were closed."


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