Nipomo marijuana dispensary proponents lose legal battle

December 17, 2016

med potThe owners of Ethnobotanica, a marijuana service seeking to open a pot shop in Nipomo, lost a lawsuit they filed against San Luis Obispo County over the board of supervisors’ decision to reject a proposed brick and mortar dispensary in Nipomo.

On Nov. 3, 2015, the board voted 3-2 against a proposal to open a 2,500-square foot medical marijuana dispensary near the Santa Barbara County line because of crime and traffic concerns. Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill dissented arguing Ethnobotanica could file a costly lawsuit if the board turned down the proposal.

“I think we’re gonna get sued, and that may not be a bad thing,” Hill said.

SLO County has an ordinance that allows medical marijuana dispensaries under certain conditions. However, county supervisors have rejected all four dispensary proposals that have come before the board since the adoption of the ordinance.

On Jan. 4, San Luis Obispo attorney Babak Nacify filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ryan Booker and Stephanie Kiel, who co-own Ethnobotanica. Booker has maintained a leadership role with the nonprofit, despite having his lengthy criminal history come to light.

The lawsuit claimed the county abused its discretion because the denial of the project was not supported by substantial evidence. Rather, three supervisors voted to deny the dispensary based on vague and generalized concerns, the suit says.

In a Dec. 5 tentative ruling, Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera appeared to support Ethnobotanica’s argument that the county’s reasons for denying the project were not supported by substantial evidence.

In opposition, Assistant County Counsel Tim McNulty argued that the SLO County Board of Supervisors should be making land use decisions, and not the court.

Earlier this week, Judge LaBarbera upheld the board’s decision to deny Ethnobotanica’s proposal to operate a brick and mortar marijuana dispensary in Nipomo.

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I’d be interested to hear from Judge LaBarbera why he seems to have changed his mind. I’d also be interested to see any prior rulings the Judge has made in cases like this; it would give us a better perspective on what powers came to bear, if any, on his desicion. My bet this has more to do with politics then anything else (he was originally appointed to the bench by Pete Wilson, a huge proponent of the “Drug War”).

now that it’s legal, I can’t understand why the county wouldn’t want the revenue.

someone was lobbying that we don’t know about.

Can you say “wine lobby”?

Yet, almost weekly I see a new wine tasting room opening up. It’s a double standard.

Why would anyone thumbs down this comment, sigh….? If someone drinks wine yet does not support marijuana should really read some peer reviewed journals on both.

marijuana is actually good for soil quality, yet wine is not.

I know Debbie Arnold has total double standards for wine vs hemp and or cannabis too. Hemp has tensile strength far superior to cotton without negative soil results as used to grow.

Adam Hill actually being concerned about the taxpayers money, I guess there’s a first for everything. Christmas miracles do happen, or does he have an ulterior motive?

because of crime and traffic concerns.


Liars. At least admit you are just against it.

Easy answer to crime and traffic concerns. Sell it at every store that sells alcohol or at least every store that sells prescription medications.

It’d be the same way if it were the only liquor store in SLO county.

Sure Adam, getting sued is not a bad thing especially when the taxpayers foot the bill. What a cavalier attitude with others’ money!

Huh? Did you even read the story? It says HIll warned that turning down the shop would result in a lawsuit against the county. He was urging others to approve the thing, and thereby avoid a lawsuit for which taxpayers would have to foot the bill.