News

Pot club owner initiates court battle with city

In hopes of taking the issue all the way to the state Supreme Court, the operator of a newly opened medical marijuana dispensary in Mountain View is suing the city over its ban on pot clubs.

Matt Lucero, a well-to-do lawyer who lives in Campbell, filed the suit after the City Council voted last week to take legal action to close down Buddy's Cannabis Patient Collective, which he runs with a dozen other members.

The dispensary opened April 10 at 2632 Bayshore Parkway despite Mountain View's temporary ban, which took effect in March and was supposed to buy the city time to craft regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries -- an idea which, ironically, a council majority seems to support.

The central issue in Lucero's lawsuit is whether Mountain View's temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries is legal under state law. But that question may soon be settled in an appellate court in Southern California in the case of Qualified Patients Association vs. the City of Anaheim, which could decide the legality of that city's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. A ruling in that case, expected within the next few months, could have major implications for city bans on dispensaries statewide.

If Anaheim wins, Lucero said, he will continue his lawsuit in hopes a Northern California appellate court disagrees. "Then it goes to California Supreme Court -- that's my strategy," he said.

"I'm going to spend millions of my own money to do this," he added. "Maybe they will fine me thousands of dollars a day. Maybe they will fine our landlord. I already told them -- 'I'll pay it.'"

But if Anaheim loses its case, "basically we win," Lucero said.

Interim city attorney Jannie Quinn is named as a defendant in the case along with the city itself. "I'm going after her personally because she's lied to me," Lucero said.

He claims that in a visit to the dispensary a few weeks ago, "She said she was impressed and invited me to draft an ordinance" for medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

"She said she was looking forward to helping sick people of Mountain View," he said. But after looking into it more, he said, it was apparent that "She's been the catalyst of the (city's opposition) the whole time."

Quinn was not available for comment by press time.

Lucero's suit demands that the city pay the dispensary's legal fees along with damages for "emotional distress, mental anguish, physical pain and suffering" for violating the dispensary's "constitutional rights."

He says he's fighting for Mountain View's "downtrodden" -- "over 200 qualified patients" who need medical marijuana for various health conditions, "folks arriving on bicycles, wheelchairs and with canes" who Lucero says have thanked him profusely for opening the only dispensary in the area.

The city has yet to file its own lawsuit, but Lucero said he expects one by the end of the week. The city has hired an outside law firm, San Francisco-based Hanson Bridgett, to handle the case.

Comments

Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Apr 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

This has been a lightning-rod topic in the past, so we thought it prudent to make this comment thread registered-only. To register, please click on one of the links below.


Posted by localmom, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:54 pm

localmom is a registered user.

Alright, alright, I know you all have been waiting for me to say something!! I think this is an outrage. Pot clubs have been banned in Mountain View, so the City Council should send the MVPD over there and shut the place down and padlock it! End of discussion. When the Council decides if they would LIKE to have such law-abiding, upstanding types as Mr. Lucero open up this variety of establishment, this gentleman can come and apply for a business permit just like everybody else. He may get rejected for reasons that have nothing to DO with marijuana! Everyone with a business in MV needs to go through the proper legal channgels. What he is doing now is breaking the law, flagrantly and openly. It sets a really terrible example in so many ways. If any of you readers would like some readily available Mary Jane, all you need is a scrip from a sympathetic health care provider and a bike to get you to Shoreline. I would make sure to put some kind of flourescent dye in the pot or microprocessor tag b/c I bet it's getting all around town through re-sale! MVPD should see if they have an increase if juvenile arrests for possesion to see if my initial theory holds up, that opening a pot club in town increases access for non-medical users.


Posted by The Enlightener, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 30, 2010 at 10:40 am

The Enlightener is a registered user.

"If any of you readers would like some readily available Mary Jane, all you need is a scrip from a sympathetic health care provider and a bike to get you to Shoreline"

Wow. That's significantly more difficult than what anyone has to currently do to get it on the street. Sounds like a great way to cut into the black market and keep it from kids is to regulate it and make it avail only to those who need it, just like how you can get a bottle of highly addictive pain pills by simply going to a "sympathetic health care provider" (that term sounds very nice, open minded, and compassionate doesn't it?), saying you have back pain, then taking your script to one of the many legal opiate drug dispensaries in town.
All the pot is already out there people, avail to anyone who wants it.
Dispensaries would cut into the illegal black market, and cut into the availability to kids. Drug dealers don't check for doctor's recommendations.
That said, Lucero is manipulating this transitional time to troll for a lawsuit. He's a jerk. I'll support the opening of dispensaries that work with the city and its citizenry. I personally do hope they shut down Lucero's lawsuit bait shop. And no, I don't use medical pot but I have 3 yrs ago, instead of some hard drugs that would have had significant side effects that I didn't have to deal with thanks to mmj.

Oh, and localmom, the cost of mmj is too close to the cost of street mmj so resale is a silly venture. The drug dealers can get a better deal in bulk via the black market. There, at least that fear can be calmed.
I hope you can use the other facts to calm your other fears. Remember, all the pot is already out there being smoked by anyone who wants it, and MV, in my humble opinion, is still a very enjoyable place to live. No doom, no gloom.
Reduction/elimination of any black market operation in the town can only have a positive affect.


Posted by devog, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 1, 2010 at 11:31 pm

devog is a registered user.

The city is having serious budget short falls, according to the article uploaded Feb 19 on to the Voice's web site, an estimated $ 5 million budget deficit.

To save $325K they are considering laying off 37 employees and transferring the maintenance of street trees to property owners.

According to the April 28th article, Mountain View has a temporary ban, on medical marijuana dispensaries supposed to buy the city time to craft regulations.

Mr. Lucero says he's fighting for Mountain View's "downtrodden" -- "over 200 qualified patients" who need medical marijuana for various health conditions, "folks arriving on bicycles, wheelchairs and with canes" who Lucero says have thanked him profusely for opening the only dispensary in the area.

Mr. Lucero also says "I'm going to spend millions of my own money to do this," "Maybe they will fine me thousands of dollars a day. Maybe they will fine our landlord. I already told them -- 'I'll pay it.'"

The city has decided to defend itself. Given that Mr. Lucero is willing to spend millions, it may cost the city millions. This will then cost more people their jobs and further reduce city services. While Mr. Lucero as a private individual may take up a single cause, those 200 needing medicinal marijuana, the city needs to consider these people as well as its 70,000 + other residents.

Since the ban is temporary, maybe Mr. Lucero could instead use a fraction of the millions to transport these downtrodden that he is so concerned about to a local city that has a dispensary. San Jose has quite a few, many on his way home from Mnt View to Campbell. (Web Link)

Or is he really not concerned about the downtrodden and more out to punish the interim city attorney Jannie Quinn is named as a defendant in the case along with the city itself. "I'm going after her personally because she's lied to me," Lucero said.

It is people like Mr. Lucero who give lawyers a bad name.


Posted by Charles, a resident of another community
on May 2, 2010 at 7:54 am

Charles is a registered user.

This is right next to a church. A Jewish community development is nearby on San Antonio. A gymnastics with hundreds of girls is nearby. A very popular childcare is nearby on San Antonio. I don't see anyone pushing drugs next to his house.


Posted by PeaceLove, a resident of Shoreline West
on May 3, 2010 at 12:48 am

PeaceLove is a registered user.

Charles: No one is "pushing drugs" at a dispensary. All the patients who come there have a medical cannabis recommendation from a doctor; if they don't, they won't even get in the door. Compare that to street dealers, who often sell to minors.

Furthermore, lots of people are pushing quite dangerous drugs at dispensaries all over Mountain View, including around children. They're called pharmacists and the drugs they dispense to people all day long are all, without exception, far more dangerous than cannabis. From a World Health Organization report in 1995: "There are no confirmed cases of human deaths from cannabis poisoning in the world medical literature." Web Link So what's the panic, exactly?

The people of California voted to make cannabis available to patients 14 years ago but cynical (and cruel) politicians at the state and local level have put up roadblock after roadblock. In the meantime, patients have been consistently ignored, marginalized and demonized. For those who have experience with the efficacy and safety of cannabis, the delays are nothing short of criminal.

-------------------

Extensive documentation about the efficacy of medical cannabis here: Web Link


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