Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dana Point heading to court over pot dispensaries' records

The city says it's seeking documents from five operations in town to figure out if they are legal. The dispensaries refused, in part, on privacy and constitutional grounds.

An Orange County Superior Court judge is expected to rule on Oct. 2 whether to enforce Dana Point's subpoenas for five medical marijuana dispensaries' records as part of a city investigation.

The dispensaries, among other objections to the subpoenas, say the city did not follow proper procedure to issue a subpoena.

The city in July served the subpoenas for records to those operating marijuana dispensaries following a request to amend zoning laws to permit dispensaries, city attorney Patrick Munoz said.

The city does not have a specific ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries. But that does not mean the operations are permitted, like many other uses not specifically addressed in municipal codes, said Munoz.

Before making any decision, the council wanted to determine if existing dispensaries are complying with state laws or if they are operating illegally, he said.

The subpoenas followed, but the five dispensaries have not complied.

One of the dispensaries argued that the city's request for records among other reasons violates medical and financial privacy rights of its members, the Fifth Amendment's protection against self incrimination and the Second Amendment protection of freedom of association.


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