Fullerton has been playing hide-and-seek with illegal cannabis dispensaries since it made the indsutry illegal citywide in Feb. 2021. On. May 10, one of these dispensaries, Fullerton Exotics, filed an appeal to remain open, despite the city determining it was not a valid dispensary.
According to documents reviewed by the Daily Titan, throughout Dec. 2021, Fullerton issued multiple citations to Fullerton Exotics’s property owners, Barry and Brenda Wilson Codispoti, the property managers, Clor Realty, and the business tenant Fullerton Exotics. Clor Realty called Cynthia Velazquez-Gil, Fullerton Code Enforcement officer, on bringing their property into compliance. However, no there was no action taken to stop the business.
Despite multiple citations sent to the business tenant, property owners and property managers, the illegal business carried on.
On April 24, Fullerton hearing officer John Van Doren determined in a written decision that Fullerton Exotics was a public nuisance. When Fullerton Exotics filed the appeal in May, represented by Damian Nassiri, they claimed that they operate as a Primary Caregiver, a medical operation which provides cannabis to no more than five patients, according to state law. This distinction would make Fullerton Exotics exempt from the public nuisance code.
The city countered this argument with evidence of human sign twirlers advertising the buisness and reports from inspectors showing customers enter the storefront empty-handed and leaving with a small paper bag. A Fullerton code enforcement officer, Cecelia Vasquez, said she received a call from a father claiming his son had purchased mushrooms at Fullerton Exotics.
Codispoti, Clor Realty and Nassiri didn’t respond to requests for comment.
If Fullerton wishes to continue enforcing the public nuisance code, one potential solution to combat this is to become a charter city. Charter cities invoke authority to the local officials and allow them to enforce certain reformations, but Mayor Fred Jung of Fullerton has the city has no plans to create a charter.
“If they are going to decriminalize cannabis which is well within the margins of what the voters want in the state … they do have to have consequences for illegal grower’s legal dispensaries to make sure that the ones that are doing business legally can survive,” Jung said.
Published: September 27, 2022
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