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City of Galt granted temporary restraining order against First Hemp Bank cannabis club

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Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:04 am, Tue Oct 26, 2010.

There will be no more withdrawals from the First Hemp Bank in Galt.

The city of Galt was granted a temporary restraining order against the cannabis club in Sacramento Superior Court on Thursday, halting marijuana sales for the time being. But city attorneys went one step further than simply shutting down the operation: The city is also trying to get $75,000 in civil penalties from the operators and owner.

The money is being sought under California’s Controlled Substances Abatement Act, which is rarely used in cases of cannabis clubs and dispensaries, Galt city attorney Steven Rudolph said. But First Hemp contended that it was not a medical marijuana dispensary, he said, and is therefore liable for monetary penalties. The city could have declined to enforce the civil penalties, but chose to ask for the money.

“If they’re violating this particular act, and the act allows us to recover a penalty in this amount, then yes we would like to,” Rudolph said.

The city is seeking $25,000 each from operators David Clancy and William Brew and property owner Julian Gonzalez.

The Hemp Bank’s attorney, Michael Berger, said Friday that his client would adhere to the judge’s ruling.

“What we’re hoping to do is discuss the operation and goals of First Hemp with the city in hopes that they might take another view of it,” Berger said.

Rudolph said the city intends to go the distance with its pursuit of the case.

Brew, who manages First Hemp, said his establishment “is working diligently with the city to make sure that everything works out best for both sides.”

If First Hemp does not reopen, it will be the second such business the city has shut down this year. In August, the Galt Wellness Center was permanently shuttered by court injunction.

The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Fernando Gallo at fernando@lodinews.com.

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