Desert Hot Springs marijuana dispensary reopening still in question

April 04, 2007

Bill Byron, Desert Sun (CA)

A county judge will decide this afternoon whether or not a medical marijuana dispensary in Desert Hot Springs will be able to reopen its doors. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harold W. Hopp said he will defer judgment until this afternoon after hearing arguments from attorneys representing both the city and the business owner this morning.

Organic Solutions of the Desert opened its doors several months ago without a business license after the owner, Jim Camper, accused the city of dragging its heels during the licensing process. City officials then passed a year-long moratorium on marijuana dispensaries without ever issuing the license to Camper. The city claimed Camper needed to apply for a variance because his business did not match the zoned use of the neighborhood.

Camper continued to operate the business following the passage of the moratorium but when the city filed an injunction against the business about two weeks ago, Camper closed his doors.

“The court said I had to close. I’m not an idiot,” Camper said after Thursday’s hearing.

He added that he has never been contacted by city police or code enforcement officers about violating any laws or ordinances.

“The only contact I’ve had has been by letter,” he said.

The city is arguing that Camper never had the legal right to open without a license and that his business creates a “public nuisance” in an area frequented by children.

James Anthony, the attorney representing Camper, argued that the city illegally denied the business license once officials realized Camper planned to open a marijuana dispensary. And once the moratorium was passed, it prevented Camper from filing for a new application.

Organic Solutions is located at 11924 Palm Drive, near the intersection of Pierson Boulevard.

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