A marijuana dispensary which has never been able to open its doors in Ontario is suing the city for $7.5 million, alleging a violation of civil rights.
The matter, which has been ongoing for the city since it first banned recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries in April of 2014, per state law, may finally make its way to court.
On Tuesday, the Ontario City Council, after discussing the matter in executive session, came back into open session to unanimously decide to hire legal representation.
“We voted to hire Miller Nash law firm to handle the Scott Inc appeal for no more than $380 per hour. In open session,” wrote Council President Dan Capron in a text after the meeting. “It was unanimous.”
Scott Matthews, 420Ville marijuana dispensary owner, and his wife, Diana, are named as the complainants.
The couple had hoped to open a medical marijuana dispensary in 2015 at a location in the 400 block of North Oregon Street that they have owned since 1994. The Matthews’ and the city did not see eye-to-eye then on whether they should have been grandfathered in per state law due to a residential buffer. The city had also previously stated that Matthews’ required land-use application was not processed in time for the city’s deadline of July 16, 2015, the day the council enacted the ban.
In May of 2016, rather than proceed to trial, Matthews signed a settlement agreement with the city of Ontario.
Per the agreement in 2016, Matthews was required to drop his lawsuit, remove his dispensary’s sign and accept a “nonconforming use” designation for his secondhand shop, located near the dispensary.
However, he is now appealing the case, and to date City