Lake Forest Wellness Center and Collective, which is the last of the dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city to remain open, is hailing an appellate court ruling as "a major victory for the collective."
The city, which has been hellbent on shutting down such business, sees the ruling differently, of course.
Erika I. Ritchie has the scoop in the Orange County Register.
A trial court had upheld Lake Forest's order shutting down all dispensaries in town. But while 21 dispensaries then shut their doors, Lake Forest Wellness Center and Collective remained open, pinning its dimming hopes on higher courts.
The city then got a contempt hearing against LFWCC in Orange County Superior Court, but the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana granted a temporary stay against those proceedings Friday.
"This is a major victory for the collective," Damian Nassiri, an attorney for LFWCC reportedly told Ritchie. "The court of appeals may believe we have a legal claim and that the city's position that dispensaries are not allowed could be struck. We'll stay open until a judge tells us otherwise."
But in the same piece, Jeffrey Dunn, who is representing the city against dispensaries, is quoted as saying, "This order does not excuse or remove the trial court's order to shut down. The court of appeal will take a look at if it's proper to hold this party in contempt not whether the initial order to close was done correctly."
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In other words, don't do your victory lap just yet, LFWCC.
The appellate ruling mirrors another that has allowed Beach City Collective in Capistrano Beach to remain open. That's just what the inactive Marine who runs LFWCC intends to do, too.
"We're here for our patients," Damon Harris tells Ritchie. "We treat people recovering from cancer, people with MS, sleep problems, ADHD and war vets. We're not doing anything wrong--why should we leave?"