City Revokes Marijuana Dispensary’s Business License

CHA Wellness Center will have to cease operations next week, according to city staff.

After a lengthy court battle, a local medicinal marijuana dispensary has been ordered to shut down by Union City.

CHA Wellness Center, which opened in January at 34695 Alvarado-Niles Road, must cease operations next week after the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to revoke its business license.

According to city staff, the dispensary never had permission to open in the first place.

City documents indicate that a business license for the Caring Hands Association was approved on Jan. 13, 2011 in order to provide “holistic health care and relaxed products and services” and “packaged products for retail exchange.”

The business license request was made by sole incorporator and Monterey County resident Joe Williams, who in emails to city staff listed items such as vitamins, supplements, oils and “any other lawful herbal product” among the products his business would carry.

City staff said CHA was told it could not distribute medical marijuana and was surprised when CHA Wellness opened this year as a dispensary. The city quickly and .

The sale, use and distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal law, and city regulations require that all businesses in Union City be compliant with federal laws, a city attorney said.

CHA was asked to provide the city with evidence to support why the business license should not be revoked. The city didn’t find the evidence to be adequate and moved forward with revoking CHA’s license, according to a staff report.

An attorney representing CHA, however, said the action to revoke their license was unfair.

“If this were any other kind of business and someone made a mistake in their business license, there would be an opportunity in every situation I can think of to amend the business license,” said Derek Longstaff, who represents CHA.

Longstaff said the city’s action is not a matter of proper licensing procedures but an effort to rid the city of the dispensary.

“It’s about the political will of this Council and the municipal government,” he said.

According to Longstaff, CHA is now run by a collective. Williams is no longer affiliated with the dispensary. CHA’s board of directors inherited the license in good faith from Williams and believed its operations to be within legal bounds, he said.

Longstaff said revoking CHA’s license would be a disservice to the community. Since its opening, CHA has served 3,000 patients, with 100 patients coming in daily, according to the cannabis collective’s board of directors.

He asked the Council Tuesday to allow CHA to apply for a new business license and “disclose and participate in the process fully and appropriately.”

City attorney Ben Reyes, however, said that the appeal process “has been exhausted” and the Council’s decision would be final.

Despite the city’s decision, Longstaff said CHA will ask an Alameda County Superior Court judge to review the ruling.

Longstaff believes CHA to be within its legal rights because, though marijuana is outlawed federally, state law allows the use and sale of medicinal marijuana.

“The state allows medical marijuana to be regulated, not banned,” he said.

Pamela Welborn April 25, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Also if anyone bothered reading either the current atty general of California's letters to the legislature last December: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2600 AND other interesting reading how two Goveners of 2 states have sent an open letter to the DEA asking to have Marijuana reclassified for medical use. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2011/nov/30/two_governors_call_dea_reclassif
Lisa April 25, 2012 at 11:19 PM
If they would tax it, they could defer those funds to the schools that are in such dire need due to state budget cuts.....no property tax initiative needed....everyone happy.
Summer Hemphill April 26, 2012 at 04:56 AM
If you wanted to give Union City an enema you'd stick the nozzle in the City Council chambers !!!
jake April 26, 2012 at 08:37 PM
MAKE THESE addicted fools go to a doctor get a prescription and then go to rite aide these facilities are a smoke screen for drug lords!
riottgirl May 02, 2012 at 08:32 PM
They have a prescription from a doctor, you fool. Smoke screen? You need to read up on the law, buddy.
riottgirl May 02, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Lisa, it IS taxed. Every transaction in every dispensary is TAXED. Taxes are paid to the state and to the feds.
Brash Brazen May 06, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Everyone agrees that marijuana smokers are younger,happier,brighter & better looking people than those who don't partake. Those people opposed are older,unhappier,ignorant & loathsome zealots,jealous of anyone having a better time (i.e. more fun) than they do. Until the Union City Council begins to treat this issue in an adult manner we'll just have to acquire our medication elsewhere & bring it back here to consume. The city will ultimately have to capitulate to the cannabis dispensaries,because the days of municipalities obstructing state law or citing federal law are coming to a close. Local zoning,land use measures & nuisance ordinances are being overturned in the state Appelate Courts. Connecticut legislators just sent a measure legalizing medical marijuana to the Governor who says he will sign it into law. This makes 17 states & the District of Columbia with several more pending this year. There's a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in So.Cal. demanding to know how the federal government can approve of medical marijuana in Washington D.C.,but contends it's against federal law in states where it's legal ? The tide has finally turned & public opinion is now firmly on our side. Union Cities leaders need glass belly buttons so they can see what everyone else does,that their callous disregard for cannabis patients & state law is indefenseable. So spark up the sticky icki & just be glad that you're a much better person than they'll ever hope to be. Stay classy Union City !
Bong Sativa May 06, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Don't vote for any member of the Union City City Council who has ever obstructed our right to obtain medicinal marijuana here in violation of state law. Don't promote them to a higher office where they can interfere with the legal rights of even more citizens. Mark Green's malicious actions towards dispensaries prove him particularly unfit for an Assembly seat in a district where the voters support medicinal marijuana by a wide margin. 55% of Alameda County voters favored complete legalization in 2010 & Mark Green is out of step with his constituents. Let's send a message all his co-conspirators will hear loud & clear - there's no future for prohibitionists in Democratic political circles. Tell your friends & neighbors to vote for anyone but Mark Green.
Ryan May 07, 2012 at 01:02 AM
How do you think people get cannabis cards? Your sensationalist claims are hilarious.
Summer Hemphill May 30, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Please read "A Judges Plea for Pot" an Op-Ed in the N.Y. Times dated May 16 th. This moving & compelling piece was written by N.Y. Supreme Court Justice Gustin L. Reichbach & should be required reading irregardless of your feelings regarding medical marijuana. His courage & eloquence regarding this controversial issue should be universally applauded.
Tim May 30, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Really? "Irregardless" of my feelings on your recreational marijuana use? Perhaps you meant to use an actual word in the English language, such as "regardless"?
Summer Hemphill May 30, 2012 at 09:09 PM
I find your rhetoric inflammatory or is it flammatory ? Either way I'm whelmed by your mastery of our countries primary language ! So subsequently bear in mind my transient position allows me a perspective that's unique !!
Tim May 30, 2012 at 11:38 PM
No, you're position just shows you coming off as a moron with nothing better to do than obsess over marijuana and a left wing ideology in every post you make on countless Patch sites, most of which represent towns and cities you've never even been to. Btw, it's "regardless" meaning without regard. "Irregardless" is a double negative; a slang term, and not a word. GW Bush was chastised for his use of the slang term... but what am I saying, of course Summer Hemphill is smarter than the former President.
Brash Brazen May 31, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Tim,99.9% of Americans are smarter than George W. Bush who'll surely be remembered by historians as the worst President of all time ! You're in the 0.1% otherwise I'd wager everyone is smarter than clueless George who was elected by one vote.
Pamela Welborn May 31, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Tim May 31, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Yea, because the economy has been so much better under the almost 4 years of Obama than it was for 7 of the 8 years Bush was in office. Obama is such a genius isn't he... let's review.... "navy CORPSmen".... on Memorial Day "I see so many of you (dead) here today".... confuses doesn't know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day... "Give you kids a breathalizer" (for asthma)... "57 states"... even forgot how old his daughter Malia is... Yes indeed, Obama is a genius and Bush is an idiot.
Davis May 31, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Looks like Pamela Welborn has supplemented Summers' arsenal of personalities!
Pamela Welborn May 31, 2012 at 08:48 PM
no just posting a link to a VERY GOOD ARTICLE - though it might be above most of your 8th grade reading levels
riottgirl May 31, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Tim, why can't you stay on topic?
Pamela Welborn May 31, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Because the people who have nothing to add to the discussion can only take cheap grade school jabs at the people who do.
Tim May 31, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Because one person with multiple aliases led us off topic. That would be "Summer Hemphill" aka "Brash Brazen" aka "Bong Sativa" aka "Frank Mockery" and it looks like he/she has a new alias in "Pamela Welborn" but maybe Davis and I are wrong. We'll never know, since Patch makes no effort to authenticate a user name with an actual person.
riottgirl May 31, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Tim, don't try to push off your pointless, off-base comments onto someone else. The subject of this is medical marijuana, not George Bush or the Patch's process of signing up users.
Tim May 31, 2012 at 10:32 PM
the subject of the article is "medicinal marijuana" but as with most of you pot heads, the discussion becomes just "marijuana" as in recreational use. With that comes political debate, like it or not. And no one is forcing you to read of comment on what I say. If it's pointless, I'd think you'd just ignore it... unless, well, your name says it all.
riottgirl May 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM
You make an assumption that I'm a pot head. I'm more concerned with the will of the people in our state who voted for the legalization of medical marijuana, Tim. You know, states rights vs. federal rights. If you care to have an education discussion, then start one.
Tim May 31, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I agree with you on that. But, the people of CA rejected the last initiative (I voted in favor). If it does pass and become legalized in CA then I think it's none of the federal government's business provided there is no interstate commerce between CA and other states where it's not legal. I find it ironic though that those on the left who cry out "states rights" were deathly silent on that issue when Obamacare was passed. Where is that authorized under the Constitution? You want to pick and choose when Federalism should apply. You can't have it both ways.
riottgirl May 31, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Tim, I agree with you 100%. What angers me is the rhetoric. Obama says the Feds won't pursue MM and now the Feds are handing out eminent domain notices to property owners/landlords with MM centers. I'm a die-hard believer in State's rights. It galls me that the Feds collect the tax dollars for MM and then prosecute. It is high time that Citizens take a stand against Big Brother. MM is simply another issue pitting "us" against "them". My take on the silence and lack of outrage for Obamacare is that Obamacare is a handout--it seems that many prefer the handout rather than realize what they are really losing: their personal freedom. "You want to pick and choose when Federalism should apply. You can't have it both ways." AMEN to that Tim! Well said.
riottgirl May 31, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Here's another interesting read from today's Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anthony-gregory/war-on-pot_b_1554604.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false
Frank Mockery July 03, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Union City can't ban medical marijuana dispensaries !! In a landmark decision the Second District Court of Appeal issued it's ruling on Monday in Los Angeles County v Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective. The court held that Los Angeles County's "complete ban" on medical marijuana is "preempted" by state law & therefore void ! The court further held that the ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature's intent & called that contradiction "direct,patent,obvious & palpable". The decision should have considerable impact on how the California Supreme Court rules in the various dispensary cases it's currently reviewing. As I've said all along cities have no right to obstruct a patient's "safe & legal access" to medical marijuana,never have,never will. The Union City City Council should instruct the City Attorney to draw up reasonable regulations regarding their operation for their approval now !!!
Summer Hemphill July 05, 2012 at 04:13 AM
When are the dispensaries opening here & how much money can the city be sued for by those "illegally" denied the right to conduct "legal" business here in Union City ?
Frank Mockery July 14, 2012 at 03:57 PM
The bottom line is that medical marijuana patients & medical marijuana dispensaries are "law-abiding" & that the voters of Union City certainly expect that their City Council should be "law-abiding" too !


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