City to seek injunction on pot outlet

January 10, 2007

Will Bigham, Daily Bulletin (CA)

CLAREMONT - The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to seek a court injunction to force the operator of a medical marijuana dispensary to shut down.

Darrell Kruse had pledged to keep Claremont All-Natural Nutrition Aids Buyers Information Service (CANNABIS) open, despite being found guilty Tuesday morning of operating without a city-issued business license.

He opened the business on Sept. 15 in the 600 block of South Indian Hill Boulevard.

"We're giving him 72 hours to comply. Otherwise, we will file an injunction against him," Mayor Peter Yao said. "He is operating without any oversight."

The city did not seek an injunction in court Tuesday because it had hoped that a guilty ruling against Kruse would convince him to voluntarily close down, City Attorney Sonia Carvalho said.

Immediately after the ruling, Kruse said to the city's counsel that he would remain open. The City Council then met to discuss the development in an emergency closed session.

On Wednesday morning, the business was open as if it were a typical day. When notified of the pending injunction, Kruse said he was surprised the city was "still against medical marijuana."

"They continue to attack - it's apparent they either don't know the law, or they wish to ignore the law," he said, citing the Compassionate Use Act, passed as Proposition 215 in 1996, which allows for the medical use of marijuana. "I will go anywhere they allow it, and I will follow any rules that they lay down."

The city was expected to notify Kruse on Wednesday that he has until Tuesday to shut down.

If he refuses, the city will move forward with injunctive relief, Carvalho said, even if Kruse appeals this week's ruling.

The City Council passed a moratorium in late September on medical marijuana dispensaries, and it will have two years from that date to decide whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries.

The city can ban them outright, or allow and regulate them, Carvalho said.

"The city does not fully understand how we can control the distribution of medical marijuana within the city limit, and we need time to find out what the best practice is," Yao said. "We think that by the end of 2007, we should be in a position to do that."

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