A landlord who repeatedly allowed illegal marijuana dispensaries to operate from his San Diego properties will pay the City $250,000 as a civil penalty, with an additional civil penalty of $300,000 suspended by the Court so long as he complies with the terms of the stipulated judgment.
John Nobel has been named in numerous actions by the City Attorney’s Office as it cracks down on unpermitted dispensaries.
As part of a global stipulated court judgment of those cases, Nobel was assessed $550,000 in civil penalties, with $300,000 of that amount suspended, and was ordered to pay the City for investigative costs of $8,000. The penalties include $80,000 of a $120,000 judgment that previously was awarded the City and that Nobel had appealed.
(Amid a certain stated potential for confusion, Nobel is distinct from John Noble, of Coastal Sage Gardening.)
Under the terms of the stipulated final judgment, Nobel may be forced to pay the $300,000 suspended penalty if any of his properties is used for any unlawful marijuana operations or for any use not permitted by the City. In addition, he must ensure that any remaining dispensaries vacate his properties, and he must remove their fixtures, effects and signage. Failure to abide by the stipulated court judgment may also result in a contempt of court citation.
The penalty is the largest attained by the City Attorney’s Office since it began using civil enforcement action against dispensaries that operate in violation of City zoning regulations.
The City Attorney’s Office has closed down more than 200 dispensaries in the past four years. In that time, Nobel-owned properties in Pacific Beach, the Midway district and North Park were leased to dispensary operators despite the fact that they were not allowed under zoning laws. Four dispensaries operated from a building on Rosecrans Street that is 600 feet from an elementary school, a violation of state law.
When an illegal dispensary case is referred to the City Attorney’s Office by the City’s code enforcement division, a court order to close the dispensary is usually obtained within 30 days. The City Attorney’s Office can later seek permanent injunctions and penalties against the property owners and dispensary operators.
In cases such as this, where property owners continue to violate the law despite court injunctions, the City often seeks the maximum permissible civil penalties. To date, City Attorney’s Office enforcement actions have resulted in court awards of more than $1.1 million in civil penalties.
“This case underscores that landlords will be held accountable for renting to illegal marijuana dispensaries,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. “There is a process in place for legally zoned dispensaries and that process should be followed.”
Nobel was not the sole defendant in any of the 12 cases, as all complaints also named Mahin Nobel. Some also named co-owners Parviz Hakakha and Judith Hakakha. Others named co-owners David Abeles and Melody Abeles.
The settlement resolves cases against the following dispensaries in Pacific Beach and the Midway district (principal defendants in parentheses):
· San Diego Organic Wellness, 1150 Garnet Ave. (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel);
· Fresh Alternative Consulting, Inc., 3045 Rosecrans St., #208 (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel, Parviz Hakakha, Judith Hakakha);
· Green Wellness Association, Inc., 3045 Rosecrans St., #207 (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel, Parviz Hakakha, Judith Hakakha);
· SB Health, Inc., 3045 Rosecrans St., #310 (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel, Parviz Hakakha, Judith Hakakha);
· S.C.C.G., Inc., 3045 Rosecrans St., #214 (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel, Parviz Hakakha, Judith Hakakha);
· PB 45 CAP, Inc., 4688 Cass St. (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel);
· Lemoin Corp, 936 Garnet St. (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel, David Abeles, Melody Abeles);
· Patient Med Aid, 2015 Garnet Ave. (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel); and
· Dank on Turquoise, Inc., 841 Turquoise St., (John Nobel, Mahin Nobel)
Complaints regarding marijuana dispensaries may be referred to the Code Enforcement Division of the City at (619) 236-5500.