Fined $500 A Day, California Dispensary Asks City To Lay Off


C3 Collective
A sample of the wares at Walnut Creek’s C3 Collective.

​Five hundred bucks a day adds up fast. Brian Hyman, director of the only medical marijuana dispensary in Walnut Creek, California, can tell you that.

Hyman’s dispensary, the C3 Collective, has been fined $500 a day by Walnut Creek since shortly after opening in June.
As people discover all the time, once you’re in city government’s crosshairs, they can find something to for which to harass you. In C3’s case, the official reasons have been things like violation of a general nuisance clause in the city code that prohibits any organization that violates federal law.
Sounds reasonable enough, until you remember that federal law recognizes no such thing as medical marijuana. Seems even if the Obama Administration is reluctant to enforce federal marijuana laws, Walnut Creek isn’t willing to back down.

That’s why what is traditionally a short, ceremonial meeting in Walnut Creek — that of installing a new mayor — was the occasion last week of a protest by members and supporters of the C3 Collective, as reported by Elisabeth Nardi at the Contra Costa Times.
C3 members asked that the city stop already with the $500 zoning violation fines every day.

Crazy In Suburbia
Dispensary owner Brian Hyman: “I try and meet your fine requests.”

​”By prosecuting this facility, you are in turn inhibiting and neglecting community growth,” Hyman said. “I try and meet your fine requests. It’s not feasible every day.”
Walnut Creek officials continue to claim that the dispensary’s operation is prohibited because it is in violation of federal law, but they also filed an injunction in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Nov. 9, alleging the collective is also in violation of Walnut Creek zoning laws.
The city sued C3 in October, trying to shut the dispensary down. The first hearing in that case isn’t until March 2010. The city filed the court injunction hoping to force C3 to close even sooner, but the injunction hearing isn’t until Feb. 25.
Supporters of the collective urged the city council to hold off on the court case and allow patients to visit C3 until the council makes a decision about allowing and regulating dispensaries in Walnut Creek. City staff members say they are “studying the issue.”
Scott Candell, attorney for the dispensary, said Walnut Creek has spent $20,000 to $30,000 of city funds on the lawsuit. “The city is suing the collective,” he said. “The collective is made up of patients, so basically the city is suing the patients.”