Latest Yuba County marijuana dispensary shut down after only 2 days
Hempfest will be held in south Sutter County on Aug. 19-21.
Once again, a proponent of medical marijuana has tried to open a dispensary in Yuba County. And once again, he has only been open a few days before the county shut him down.
The newest chapter in the county's ongoing marijuana wars began when the county's Building Department issued an occupancy permit to the owner of Ivy Shop/Garden Shop, 5040 Olivehurst Ave., in Olivehurst.
After only two days, though, the county revoked the permit and gave the store owner, Robert Smith, no ability to appeal, said Smith's attorney, Jeffrey Kravitz of Sacramento.
"What we have on one side is people who believe in the United States of America where people can engage in free enterprise, and on the other side is a nanny state that won't allow him to do so," Kravitz said.
But reality doesn't match rhetoric, said county spokesman Russ Brown.
When the county issued the occupancy permit, the owner portrayed it as a garden supply store. Afterward, the owner put up new walls in the building, Brown said.
"It was never zoned for that and it was never permitted for that," he said, adding Smith also added signs identifying the business as a medical marijuana dispensary.
As well, current county zoning has no provision for dispensaries, either in terms of specifically permitting them or banning them, in particular areas, Brown said.
Kravitz said he sees it differently: "My understanding is their feeling is that nothing that is not permitted is allowed."
Brown said the situation is frustrating for the county because the dispensary's owner didn't comply with the terms of the permit, then turned to the media to seek relief. Smith could not be reached for comment.
But the status of dispensaries could change. The county is in the beginning stages of updating its zoning ordinances, and officials have said encouraging small business owners who've run into past issues is a goal of the update.
Medical marijuana dispensaries could be part of that discussion, Brown said.
Other counties already have zoning to permit such operations, Kravitz said, adding Smith's clientele would've been limited to members of a medical marijuana cooperative.
"There would be a question whether you could completely prohibit them," he said.
Kravitz said he is trying to appeal the revocation with the county, but there is no word yet. Brown said the dispensary's operators can start over with the Planning Department, but still face the same zoning hang-ups.