SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – A marijuana dispensary that ran afoul of Santa Cruz County might get its 2,000 plants back, thanks to a California appeals court ruling.
Granny Purps came out on the winning end of a Sixth Appellate District ruling issued on Aug. 5 after suing to recover plants that were seized by county officials. Santa Cruz County claimed it had no obligation to return the plants because Granny Purps violated an ordinance restricting cannabis cultivation.
“A government entity does not have to return seized property if the property itself is illegal,” Justice Adrienne Grover wrote.
“But the ordinance here ultimately regulates land use within the county; it does not (or could not) render illegal a substance that is legal under state law.”
As a result, Granny Purps’ claims actually survive the demurrer that was granted by the trial court. The demurrer to four of Granny Purps’ other claims were affirmed, though.
“At this procedural stage, plaintiff has the benefit of our accepting as true that its cultivation of marijuana complied with state law,” Grover wrote. “But to succeed on its claims for return of property, it will need to prove that fact (among others).
“If plaintiff was cultivating marijuana in a manner not allowed by state law, the marijuana would indeed be contraband and not subject to return.”