Three Local Marijuana Dispensaries Ordered to Cease Operation – Pasadena Now

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Three Local Marijuana Dispensaries Ordered to Cease Operation



The owners of three Pasadena marijuana dispensaries have been ordered by the City’s Code Enforcement Commission to cease business, after nearly a dozen total violations of the Pasadena municipal code for selling marijuana, which is not allowed in Pasadena despite being legalized in the State of California.

Following an investigation and presentation by Code Compliance Officer Jon Pollard, who made the recommendation to the commission, Sevak Baghumyan — who allegedly operates the Green Love marijuana dispensary at 1874 East Washington Boulevard — and Randy Mendoza, who allegedly operates one dispensary at 1110 E. Green Street and another at 1224 East Green Street, were each ordered by the commission to “remove all marijuana in its various forms and discontinue operating or allowing the operation of any and all marijuana dispensary activities from their respective locations.”

Both owners, six days after the posting of the order, must also contact the Code Compliance office to schedule an inspection at their places of business.

Baghumyan and Mendoza each originally received Cease and Desist Orders from the Code Compliance Office in February 2017, followed by numerous subsequent violations totaling more than $2,000 each, and both continued to ignore commission notices.

Neither defendant or attorneys representing them appeared at the hearing.

While California legalized the sale of recreational marijuana in November, the Pasadena Zoning Code does not allow operation of marijuana dispensaries, and there are no legal marijuana dispensaries in Pasadena.

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act (“CUA”), which provided limited defense from criminal prosecutions for possession and cultivation of medical marijuana. In 2003, the California Legislature then enacted the Medical Marijuana Program Act {“MMPA”) which gave limited immunity for qualified patients and primary caregivers to transport, process, administer, deliver, or cooperatively cultivate marijuana. Finally, in October 2015, the Governor signed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (“MMRSA”) which creates a state regulatory and licensing system governing the cultivation, testing, and distribution of medical marijuana.

But a recent California Supreme Court ruling found that city and municipal codes may take precedence over the state law. And, while in October 2015, the Governor Governor Jerry signed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (“MMRSA”) to creates a state regulatory and licensing system governing the cultivation, testing, and distribution of medical marijuana, Pasadena has made no changes in its own code and has no current plans to allow medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits.

According to Simon Khinda, the attorney for the property owners of the Mendoza location, Mendoza told the landlords—The Taylor Family Trust—that he would be selling legal marijuana in accordance with State law. However, the property owner, subsequently learned that marijuana sales were illegal in the city and told Mendoza they would return his deposit and wanted to cancel the lease. Mendoza agreed, but never followed through, and continued to do business at the location.

“(The defendant) will do nothing without a court order,” added Khinda. “They are trying to drag this out. The fine is something they earn in less than an hour.”

There are nine illegal dispensaries currently operating in the City of Pasadena, Pollard said last month in an interview.

 

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