Gilroy pot dispensary asked to close

November 11, 2009 6:32:05 PM PST
The city of Gilroy is famous for garlic. But it's marijuana that is making news there.

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A person from the Gilroy Police Department delivered the cease and desist order at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The medical marijuana club had been operating for just three days.

"The city of Gilroy at this time finds that medical marijuana facilities are not desired in this community and so we will enforce the laws that we have on the books to that end," said City Manager Tom Haglund.

The city says the MediLeaf club is operating without a business license and violating zoning ordinances. The club owners went before the council last month, and the council voted 4-3 to deny the operation a business license.

The dispensary opened on Monday and says it's operating as a non-profit and doesn't need a business license. The city disagrees and says even non-profits are required to get a license to operate in Gilroy -- thus the standoff.

"Bureaucracy, legal people will deal with that. We're focusing on serving the people of Gilroy," said MediLeaf General Manager Eric Madigan.

In three days MediLeaf says, 150 people have joined the cooperative. People like Kelley Wendlandt, who will no longer have to drive hours to fill a medical marijuana prescription.

"For so many patients it's so convenient now that they don't have to go over the hill or to Oakland or San Francisco. That's just crazy," said Wendlandt.

The mayor says what's crazy is that MediLeaf didn't get the answer it wanted from the city and is now operating outside the law and will be shut down.

"No, we're not going to go in their guns drawn and put ourselves at risk as a community for other lawsuits or anything like that. We are going to do it the right way, the legal way," said Gilroy Mayor Al Pinheiro.

The cease and desist order was effectively immediately, but MediLeaf says it too will pursue its legal options.

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