In what appears to be a growing trend, a third marijuana dispensary is suing Chula Vista.
All three lawsuits have been field by companies whose applications for a cannabis business license were rejected. The lawsuit essentially says that Chula Vista’s licensing process was “arbitrary and capricious,” that the city failed to follow its own rules and unfairly rejected the applications.
Each lawsuit asks a judge to order Chula Vista to refrain from issuing any licenses to marijuana dispensaries until the city re-evaluates their applications –- a process that threatens to halt a licensing process that has taken nearly two years.
Chula Vista Cannabis Village, which filed its lawsuit Nov. 16, is the latest company to sue the city this month. Caligrown and Urbn Leaf were the first and second companies to sue.
Ken Sobel, a lawyer and Cannabis Village’s owner, sued on behalf of the company. In the complaint, he says Chula Vista failed to follow its own rules to determine who gets a business license, and a consulting company used by Chula Vista to score applicants also didn’t follow the city’s rules.
“The city contravened its own ordinance and regulations when it inexplicably refused to consider all of the information contained in CVCV’s license applications,” Sobel wrote.
In 2018, the City Council passed a rigorous two-phase application process intended to ensure that only the best applicants were awarded licenses, and anyone with a criminal history could not be involved in a legal cannabis business.
Phase one involved meeting a set of minimum qualifying criteria, background checks and a merit-based scoring system. Chula Vista has a cap of eight dispensary licenses, and it received 84 storefront retail applications.
Only the top point-getters from phase one would move on to phase two.