City settles with owner of marijuana dispensary

DEL MAR — City Council unanimously accepted a $10,000 settlement from the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary that remained open for more than three months without a valid business license, City Attorney Leslie Devaney reported after a Sept. 12 closed-session meeting.
Patrick Kennedy must pay the city by Sept. 16. If he doesn’t, or if the dispensary opens within seven years, the payment increases to $62,350, the total amount in fines he accrued from April 1 to July 12, when he closed the 1105 Cooperative Inc. after a Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order.
“We got a good result as quick as possible and as economically as possible,” attorney Bob Mahlowitz said.
In his license application, dated Feb. 8, Kennedy described the business as “alternative medicine (herbs) — MM” and listed the start date as April 15, 2011.
Kennedy said he opened April 1, but later that day received a hand-delivered message indicating his license had been revoked because zoning regulations did not allow such businesses in the central commercial zone. The $345 application fee was returned.
Planning Manager Adam Birnbaum said a license was never issued. “It was submitted, reviewed and denied based on noncompliance with local law,” he said. According to a staff report, Kennedy received notification of denial March 31.
Kennedy continued to operate the business at 1105 Camino del Mar and filed an appeal about two weeks later.
In the appeal Kennedy stated that he planned to operate the business under stricter guidelines than what he said is allowed; however, council members opted not to set a public hearing and upheld the denial at the May 9 meeting.
Despite receiving citations for operating without a valid business license, Kennedy remained open until the temporary restraining order was issued.
At one point Kennedy said he may consider suing the city, but a lawsuit has not been filed, Mahlowitz said. The store currently sits empty.
Kennedy did not return e-mail and phone requests for a comment.


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