SAN DIEGO — San Diego made headway Thursday in its efforts to shut down roughly 50 illegal pot shops still operating in the city when City Attorney Jan Goldsmith obtained a court order to close a Mission Valley marijuana dispensary that had moved from Bankers Hill.
The news comes three weeks after Goldsmith announced the closure of four other illegal medical marijuana dispensaries: two in Pacific Beach, one in Mission Valley and one in the Mount Hope neighborhood of southeast San Diego.
Goldsmith obtained a court order to close another illegal dispensary in Skyline last week and plans to seek enforcement orders against two more next week in North Park and Grantville.
City officials are facing pressure to close as many illegal dispensaries as possible before the first legal pot shops beginning opening some time in early 2015.
The court order obtained Thursday will allow closure of the Green Circle Cooperative, which opened on Hotel Circle South last month. Goldsmith previously shut down a Bankers Hill dispensary where the same individuals operated under the name Crown Patients Group.
Green Circle Cooperative was ordered to close its doors within 24 hours. The defendants include Michael Yono, the president of Green Circle; the Green Banner, Inc., which was operating the former dispensary; Lance Paul Kachi, the president of Green Banner; and Robyn Barrett, the owner of the property, located at 1235 Hotel Circle South.
Since September 2011, when Goldsmith’s office began aggressively filing civil lawsuits against property owners and dispensary operators who violate zoning regulations, more than 200 illegal dispensaries have been shut down through code enforcement action by the city.
When a dispensary tries to open in a new location after being shut down, Goldsmith can seek increased penalties and fines.
“Dispensary operators will pay a high price when they ignore city zoning laws and then defy a judge who tells them not to reopen without proper permits,” Goldsmith said. “We’ll hit them in the pocketbook as often as it takes for them to get the message. Like any other business, marijuana dispensaries must conform to zoning regulations designed to protect neighborhood standards and safety.”
Complaints regarding marijuana dispensaries may be referred to the Code Enforcement Division at (619) 236-5500.
“We know there are other dispensaries operating illegally in San Diego beyond those that are referred to us for prosecution,” Goldsmith said. “As cases are brought to us by the San Diego Police Department or Code Enforcement Division, we will close them down and obtain monetary sanctions.”
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