One local cannabis lawsuit is wrapping up in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court while another is just getting started.
On March 22, a SLO County judge ruled in favor of Natural Healing Center (NHC), Perfect Union, and the city of Morro Bay in a 2019 lawsuit that alleged the city had illegally favored NHC and Perfect Union during its permitting of cannabis dispenaries.
While the petitioner, Connected Morro Bay Blvd. LLC, argued that the city “rigged” its competitive application process to ensure NHC and Perfect Union won the two permits, Judge Ginger Garrett concluded that the suit did not prove bias by the city.
The alleged bias centered on the city allowing NHC and Perfect Union to revise their applications “mid-stream” to change their dispensary locations. The two companies then received the permits.
Garrett ruled that the city’s actions during the permit review—depicted as nefarious in the lawsuit—fell within their legal discretion.
Perfect Union has already opened its dispensary doors in Morro Bay, while NHC’s website says its Morro Bay storefront is coming “soon.”
As NHC prevails in Morro Bay, it faces new litigation in San Miguel. A local group, Protect Our County, filed a lawsuit on March 11 to overturn SLO County’s recent approval of a NHC cannabis cultivation project on River Road.
The lawsuit alleges that SLO County violated the state’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to adequately analyze the project’s groundwater, greenhouse gas, noise, odor, and light impacts.