Jury Shuts Down Berkeley Pot Club
An Alameda County Superior Court jury voted today to shutter the doors of Berkeley's infamous Forty Acres Medical Marijuana Growers Collective. The City of Berkeley and others had long claimed that the Collective was a nuisance and constituted an illegal use of the property where it has been located since 2009. The owner of the property that houses this Collective was forced by the City of Berkeley to either evict the collective or face heavy fines. The Collective sells medical marijuana and provides live entertainment without proper permits or licenses. Over the course of the 10-day jury trial, evidence was presented on the legality of the Collective and how it was a nuisance and illegal use of the premises. The case was complicated by the lack of clarity in Berkeley's marijuana laws as well as the Berkeley Rent Ordinance. "We are happy that the jury decided to evict the Collective" said Plaintiff Clarence Soe. He added that "while I have no problem with pot clubs so long as they are being operated legally and not bothering others. If the Collective won this eviction case, the City of Berkeley would have taken aggressive action against me including imposing fines." The Collective is located at 1920-1928 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley and has been in operation, without the benefit of permits or licenses, or approval from the City of Berkeley since 2009. The Plaintiff and his family have owned the property for many years. Plaintiff Soe was represented at trial by Michael J. McLaughlin of Fried & Williams LLP. Fried & Williams is a real estate litigation law firm with offices in San Francisco and Oakland. Defendants Forty Acres Medical Marijuana Growers Collective and Chris Smith were represented by Whitney Leigh of the law firm of Gonzales & Leigh LLP in San Francisco. Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG12 637164.
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