Living Green Co-op closes doors, awaits face court fight
By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
The Living Green Medical Marijuana Cooperative on Rainier Street in Grantville has reportedly closed its doors and ceased operations, now that it is facing a court fight with the City Attorney’s office. Living Green had closed under an order to do so from the city of San Diego Code Enforcement Division.
Living Green attorney Jeff Lake said the cooperative will remain closed until an appeal he has filed over the Code Enforcement order can be heard.
The request for a permanent injunction by the City Attorney may prove to be a much tougher battle for Living Green.
Such a measure has been tried before, and legal maneuvering has resulted in several instances of the measure going on and off court calendars, including at least one challenge to a judge.
In order to block that, the City Attorney’s office is asking the state Court of Appeals to order the case go forward on the merits.
The Code Enforcement order, dated Dec. 9, states the co-op must have a conditional use permit to operate a dispensary in an area not zoned for such use.
This came out at last Monday’s Navajo Community Planning group, called to consider the presentation from Living Green for permission to operate legally. Living Green has been operating illegally at 4417 Rainier St. for several months.
The planning group meeting was actually a special session just to hear Living Green, scheduled at Living Green’s request. However, no representative for Living Green was present at the meeting.
The planning group still debated the matter, but it was clear that whatever thought might have been given to approving Living Green’s plan had evaporated in the heat of the closure order.
“I actually was thinking about voting to approve these people, until I read this order from the city,” said board member Mike McSweeney. “But I now realize it’s all about the money. These people are breaking the law, and I can’t go along with that.”
The vote to deny approval of Living Green’s plan was unanimous.
Lake said he believes the order to shut down his client’s operations is legally deficient and unenforceable, and will be reversed on appeal.
That view isn’t shared by the City Attorney’s office. The matter has been referred to the City Attorney for prosecution, and spokesperson Gerry Braun said it presents a clear path to court for the City Attorney.
“What happens in cases like this is that we get the violators into court as soon as we can, and while that is going on, their ongoing efforts to secure approval to open and operate legally should come to a halt,” Braun said. “No matter where they are in the process, it all stops there pending legal resolution.”
When all this starts in the legal machine is anyone’s guess, but Braun estimated that there should be some action in 30 days or less.
Lake says it’s his belief that Living Green will remain closed for the immediate future, again pending any court action.
Interestingly, representatives from another cooperative attended the Navajo Community Planners meeting last night.
Green Door spokesman Michael Nicol argued his group are the good guys, while Living Green are the bad guys, given Living Green’s history of illegal operation.
Nicol plans to ask approval to open his operation at 4427 Rainier St. in Grantville, less than 50 feet from Living Green’s now-closed operation.
—Contact Doug Curlee at firstname.lastname@example.org.