Green light still lit for pot shop suit

MediLeaf's petition to stay open during appeal denied

Despite a Nov. 2 statewide defeat of Proposition 19, it will be
business as usual for MediLeaf, or lack thereof.
Despite a Nov. 2 statewide defeat of Proposition 19, it will be business as usual for MediLeaf, or lack thereof.

The medical marijuana dispensary will be continuing with its appeal on a prohibitory injunction resulting from a lawsuit brought against it by the City of Gilroy.

Berliner Cohen attorney Andy Faber, who is representing Gilroy in its lawsuit against MediLeaf, said the passage of Proposition 19 may have emboldened some marijuana businesses in legal proceedings across California, but said it had no bearing on the MediLeaf case.

Attorneys for MediLeaf have not yet filed the opening brief to begin the appeals process, but Faber expects the legal fight to continue.

Proposition 19 would have legalized possession of an ounce or less of marijuana and permitted small household cultivation for adults older than 21.

Batzi Kuburovich, one of three MediLeaf directors, said the business will exhaust all its legal options before giving up on the case.

“We will go through the entire legal process as far as we need to take it and there are several legal processes available to us,” said Kuburovich. “This could cost the city and us – I don’t even want to speculate how much. We just want to settle.”

As of September 2010, Berliner Cohen billed the city a total of $175,529 for MediLeaf litigation, said Gilroy Finance Director Christina Turner

Kuburovich, who said his goal would be a settlement that would allow MediLeaf to operate in Gilroy, said Proposition 19 did not affect the case at all.

“We’re talking medicinal cannabis, which was passed in 1996,” he said referring to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 – a California law allowing patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use.

“We are not talking about Prop 19,” he said.

Jim Roberts, who is representing MediLeaf, could not be reached for comment Monday.

MediLeaf opened Nov. 9 2009 without a business license at 1321 First St. It was forced to close Aug. 9 after Superior Court Judge Kevin McKenney issued an eight-page July 20 order upholding the city’s claim that MediLeaf was operating illegally following a Gilroy lawsuit.

Attorneys for MediLeaf filed a notice to appeal the prohibitory injunction the day after McKenney’s Santa Clara County court decision and requested the dispensary be allowed to operate during the appeals process. McKenney denied MediLeaf’s request.

The dispensary maintained it used a not-for-profit model and therefore did not require a business license.

“It is going to be a lengthy and very costly process for all parties involved,” said Kuburovich. “Boy, we sure would like to settle with the city.”

Proposition 19 was rejected during the Nov. 2 General Election with 53.7 percent opposing the legislation. The proposition would have allowed cities and counties to tax and regulate retail pot sales – but specified no taxes.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters has not yet released the voting figures for Gilroy.

Californians consume 500 tons of marijuana each year, according to a RAND Corp. think-tank report on Proposition 19.

Legalization would cut the price of pot by as much as 80 percent and could increase consumption by 50 percent to 100 percent or more, the report said.

Leave your comments