Mountain View Voice

News - July 16, 2010

No warm welcome for Buddy's

Pot club forced from MV could face same fate in new Sunnyvale spot

by Daniel DeBolt

It appears that Sunnyvale's city government isn't taking too kindly to Buddy's Cannabis Patient Collective after its reopening there.

Buddy's new location has been open for less than a week and the dispensary has already been visited by Sunnyvale police detectives who issued two citations so far to the dispensary for violating Sunnyvale's temporary dispensary ban and operating without permits, said operator Matt Lucero.

If the decides to prosecute, Buddy's faces up to $1,500 in fines for every day the city decides to cite the dispensary, along with up to six months in prison, said Sunnyvale spokesperson John Pilger, who added that council members would be meeting in closed session shortly to discuss the matter.

"The bottom line is the infractions of the municipal code and the misdemeanor violations can easily start adding up to a significant impact," Pilger said. "They are designed to convey a message they are violating the law."

It is unclear whether fines alone would force Buddy's to close. A nearby dispensary called Angel's Care is operating despite a $1,000 a day fine form the City of Santa Clara, Lucero said.

"I'm pleading with these guys to let us stay," Lucero said. "If they get aggressive with us, we may be going to another city bordering Mountain View, maybe Los Altos, maybe East Palo Alto. Some city on the peninsula is going to allow us to stay. In the meantime, we can't close down. We're helping a lot of people."

Buddy's was forced out of Mountain View on July 7 under the city's temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries and reopened two days later in Sunnyvale, despite a similar ban there.

Buddy's new address is about five miles outside of Mountain View in an industrial neighborhood near Highway 237 at 1283 Old Mountain View Alviso Road.

"I will tell you that we are very aware there is a violation," of the city's ban, Pilger said of Sunnyvale's city government. "We're not going to just let it stand. We will take whatever action we need to."

Judge Joseph Huber ordered Buddy's to close its previous location on Bayshore Parkway in Mountain View by July 7 after the city requested a temporary injunction against the shop. Lucero, a wealthy former corporate attorney, had told the Voice in June that Buddy's was moving to a "bigger and better" undisclosed San Jose location.

"It would've been a lot easier and less risky for us to relocate to San Jose, but there's no way that we're giving up on you guys!" read a Craigslist ad for Buddy's Sunnyvale location posted July 12.

Lucero said moving to San Jose would mean leaving numerous sick Mountain View residents without a dispensary within a reasonable distance. Lucero claims that Buddy's now has 1,000 members.

Like Mountain View, the Sunnyvale City Council has placed a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in order to take time to study whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. The Sunnyvale City Council recently voted to extend its temporary ban until March 2011 and is expecting a city staff report on the pros and cons of medical marijuana dispensaries by the end of the year, Pilger said.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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