City's Code Enforcement Commission Moves to Force Property Owner to Evict Illegal Marijuana Dispensary Owner

Property owner fails to show at hearing; will have ten days to evict marijuana dispensary shop owner/tenant

Published : Friday, December 8, 2017 | 5:56 AM

A City Commission has approved requiring a Pasadena property owner to evict an illegal marijuana dispensary tenant from her building.

The move is the first such forced eviction demand made by the City in its battle against illegal marijuana dispensaries here, and it came, coincidentally, one day after the closing of an illegal marijuana dispensary on East Green Street.

Pasadena Code Compliance Manager Jon Pollard told the Code Enforcement Commission Thursday that the owner of the property at 775 East Washington Boulevard, Amelia Caltacci, has been consistently unresponsive to City efforts to halt the operation of the illegal “public nuisance” known as the “The Spot,” on her property.

Caltacci has been issued a “Cease and Desist” notice and four administrative fines between May 2017 and November 2017, totaling $2,013 by the City of Pasadena, but has not responded, said Pollard.

She was not present at the hearing.

“I believe she has no interest in complying with any of our notices,” said Pollard.

According to a Code Enforcement Commission staff report, Pollard made several attempts over several months to determine both the owner of the dispensary, as well as the property. Pollard also directed two undercover investigators to enter the dispensary in June and purchase marijuana, to confirm its sale at the location.

“She has had enough notice,” said Commissioner Roslyn Simpson after Pollard’s report.

Despite the passage of Prop 64, which legalized possession and sale of recreational marijuana, the State allows cities and municipalities to create their own individual laws. The Pasadena City Council last month unanimously voted to not allow any dispensaries within City boundaries.

According to the staff report, Caltacci’s tenant’s operation of a marijuana dispensary is not “an allowed use as set forth by the Pasadena Zoning Code, and is therefore a violation of the Pasadena Municipal Code.”

The report also noted that “while Caltacci is not operating the dispensary, nor is she in possession of, or storing marijuana, she is the person owning the property in which public nuisance activity is occurring in violation of City ordinance, and accordingly, Caltacci is subject to citation and other forms of legal remedy.”

Code Enforcement will issue an order to Caltacci “early next week,” said Pollard.

Caltacci will then have ten calendar days to enforce an eviction on the dispensary’s owner and tenant, believed to be Jairo Mejia. Should the eviction not take place, the matter will then be turned over to the City Attorney for further action.

In the case of the Green Street dispensary closing Wednesday, the landlord in the case cooperated with Code Enforcement after discovering that the property was not being used as the original lease intended. As Pasadena Public Information Officer William Boyer noted recently, “Other landlords have been working with the City to take appropriate action to evict illegally operating marijuana businesses.”

Code Enforcement Commissioner William Francis asked Pollard during the hearing why no police action has been taken against illegal dispensaries. Pollard responded that many Police departments in the state have reduced the emphasis on marijuana sale and possession enforcement, especially since the passage of Prop 64.

“I believe this is a decision to be made jointly by Code Enforcement, the Police department and the City Manager,” said Pollard.

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