Three Newport Beach medical marijuana dispensaries close

Three medicinal marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach have decided to close, rather than face a civil order from the city, officials said Thursday.

The West Coast Cure, 2814 Newport Blvd., Nature’s Alternative Solutions, No. 117, 3400 Irvine Ave., and The Healing Tree, 4120 Birch St., shuttered last month after the Newport Beach City Council authorized nuisance-abatement proceedings in late May.

Two of the dispensaries were in Santa Ana Heights, while the third was on the Balboa Peninsula.

The stores received notices of zoning violations stating the city would file what is called a civil nuisance abatement action with the Orange County Superior Court if they didn’t close, said city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.

West Coast Cure manager Jerett Wasserman said he was disappointed that his store was forced to close. He said he is looking into reopening in another city, possibly Costa Mesa.

“I did want to fight for my patients,” Wasserman said, adding that it was “a battle” he couldn’t win against the city.

Wasserman chose to close the store July 31 at the advice of his attorney.

The city is also examining whether a fourth dispensary is in violation of city zoning ordinances, Finnigan said. She did not disclose the name of the accused shop because it is still under investigation.

In a closed-session City Council meeting in May, the council decided to take legal action against the dispensaries and authorized staff to begin nuisance-abatement proceedings.

Newport Beach police, building inspectors and code enforcement staff look for businesses while on patrol that are possible dispensaries and in potential violation of city law that prohibits them in the city.