Costa Mesa Resolves Legal Battle by Returning Seized Cannabis to Dispensary Owners

In a significant turn of events, the Costa Mesa Police, in collaboration with city officials, returned over 100 pounds of cannabis flower, oil cartridges, vaporizers, and related items to the owners of Se7enleaf, Michael Moussalli and Matteo Tabib. This action followed a settlement agreement reached between the owners and the city of Costa Mesa, California, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The return of the seized items marked the conclusion of a legal dispute between the city and Se7enleaf owners. Moussalli and Tabib had faced accusations of engaging in illegal commerce, which prompted city attorneys to mount an offensive against their operations. However, following the settlement, the city was compelled to return the confiscated property.

FILE PHOTO: An employee holds a jar of marijuana on sale at the Greenstone Provisions after it became legal in the state to sell recreational marijuana to customers over 21 years old in Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S., December 3, 2019. Picture taken December 3, 2019. REUTERS/Matthew Hatcher/File Photo – RC281E9C2DXA

Expressing his frustration with the ordeal, Tabib highlighted the challenges faced by the owners and their employees. Despite the vindication resulting from the return of their property, Tabib emphasized the toll the situation had taken on their lives.

Meanwhile, Costa Mesa officials are undergoing a review of the city’s retail cannabis ordinance, contemplating amendments aimed at enhancing regulatory measures. These deliberations include discussions on establishing buffers between dispensaries and residential areas and revising employee badge requirements to mitigate operational costs.

Recent discussions at the Costa Mesa city council meeting centered on potential revisions to local laws governing retail cannabis dispensaries. Among the proposed changes is a plan to limit the number of dispensaries to 35, with considerations for proximity to residential zones and youth centers.

The city council has expressed support for implementing a separation requirement between dispensaries and residential properties, along with measures to regulate the proximity of dispensaries to youth centers. However, the implications of these regulations on existing dispensaries remain unclear.

Costa Mesa’s cannabis market landscape has been shaped by past ballot measures, such as Measure X in 2016 and Measure Q in 2020, which facilitated the introduction of medical and retail cannabis uses in the city, respectively. These measures have played a pivotal role in the ongoing dispute between the city and Se7enleaf owners.

Despite the resolution of the legal battle, Moussalli and Tabib remain vigilant, expressing concerns about potential regulatory hurdles and advocating for better communication between industry stakeholders and city officials. Their experience underscores the complexities and challenges faced by cannabis businesses in navigating regulatory frameworks and fostering constructive dialogue with local authorities.


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