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Pot collective sues Costa Mesa

Attorney for Green Health Assn. on Newport Boulevard says the city's ban is illegal and violates state law.

August 23, 2012|By Lauren Williams

Costa Mesa's ban on medical marijuana violates state law, according to a lawsuit filed by a dispensary.

The lawsuit by the Green Health Assn. on Newport Boulevard argues that the city cannot legally ban nonprofit collectives. The action was filed by attorney James DeAguilera, who said he has filed 80 to 100 complaints against cities that ban marijuana clinics.

He said he expects an injunction from a judge protecting Green Health's location within 30 days.

Green Health sells only to members of its collective, keeping with the state attorney general's guidelines on dispensary operations, according to the Aug. 10 complaint.

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Although the State Bar of California website shows DeAguilera's status as "not eligible to practice law," he said other lawyers at his firm are handling his caseload.

He said he is undergoing a voluntary 90-day license suspension — the result of complaints to the bar by previous clients who were unhappy with his work on a mortgage-related lawsuit.

"The city is unaware that the lawsuit has been filed and, as a matter of routine, doesn't comment on pending litigation," said city spokesman Bill Lobdell.

In October, the city sought help from federal authorities to shut down marijuana collectives, citing mounting legal fees in challenging the clinics.

Green Health is asking that the city pay for its attorney fees and pay for costs incurred in the suit.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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