Medical Marijuana Patients Sue Two California Cities


Photo: Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Medical marijuana advocates protest at a Lake Forest City Council meeting

​Four medical marijuana patients have filed a federal lawsuit attempting to stop the recent crackdowns on cannabis dispensaries in the cities of Costa Mesa and Lake Forest, California.

In the lawsuit, which was filed Friday, Orange County residents Marla James, Wayne Washington, James Armantrout and Charles Daniel DeJong allege that the cities’ efforts to close down medical marijuana dispensaries deny them the access to public services, reports Ellyn Pak at The Orange County Register.

“All of them suffer from severe disabilities and illness,” said attorney Matthew Pappas. “They are and have tried other medicines to help all the various symptoms associated with the disabilities and illnesses and those have not worked for them.”
The patients are asking the court to temporarily restrain the cities from taking further action against medical marijuana patient collectives; bar the cities from violating the rights of qualified people under the Americans with Disabilities Act; award damages for past actions in violation of the ADA; and award attorney’s fees.
Jeffrey Dunn, an attorney representing the city of Lake Forest, called the lawsuit “frivolous,” adding that it appears those involved “are not using common sense.”
“What they’re doing when they filed the lawsuit is asking a federal judge to do something completely illegal under federal law,” Dunn said. “Under federal law any and all uses including in California, the medicinal use — is illegal. that issue has been put to rest,” Dunn said, exhibiting alarming gaps in his legal knowledge. “It has been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Costa Mesa, which has a 2005 ordinance banning dispensaries in the city, has a growing number of dispensaries in commercial and industrial areas. In February, Costa Mesa police began cracking down on dispensaries “operating illegally” as wellness centers or holistic medicine businesses.
The city’s officers have given out 48 cease-and-desist letters to dispensaries, and have arrested a few individuals for marijuana sales and possession.
Last fall, Lake Forest officials filed civil complaints against nearly three dozen people associated with 14 medical marijuana dispensaries in that city. City officials called for immediate prosecution and closing of the shops.
Medical marijuana patients, however, have protested the closings. James, Washington, Armantrout and DeJong, the plaintiffs, all have legal medical marijuana recommendations from their doctors.