Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 12/03/2011 10:18:05 PM PST

UPLAND – Displaced patients from the now-closed G3 Holistic cooperative still have a place in town to go for their medical marijuana.

Upland Hidden Garden is open and serving patients with valid medical marijuana cards, despite an appellate court decision last month ruling in favor of the city’s ordinance banning dispensaries.

Upland Police Chief Jeff Mendenhall said the Police Department turned over investigation of the cooperative to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

“We are assisting the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA with anything that we can,” he said.

A man who identified himself as the owner of Upland Hidden Garden on Foothill Boulevard declined to comment.

Through August, the city had spent more than $208,000 on litigation involving G3 Holistic and more than $300,000 on litigation involving all the medical marijuana cooperatives that operated in the city, said City Manager Stephen Dunn.

G3 Holistic and other cooperatives in the city closed in September 2010 after the city filed an injunction in West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.

Aaron Sandusky, president of G3, filed a stay on the injunction and appealed the city’s prohibition of dispensaries in the appellate court in Riverside.

Last month, the court ruled in favor of the city’s ordinance and upheld the injunction.

Sandusky plans to appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court.

The city is aware of the newest co-op, but does not want to incur more legal fees in attempting to shut it down, Dunn said.

The city is hoping a letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office sent to various property owners who lease to medical marijuana cooperatives will assist the city in getting the co-op closed.

“We’re kind of choosing that `wait and see’ right at the moment, only because it’s going to cost us tens of thousands of dollars to go after them legally,” Dunn said.

The day before the case was argued in court, G3’s three cooperatives in Upland, Colton and Moreno Valley as well as a warehouse in Ontario were raided by DEA agents.

Tom Mitchell, chairman of the City Council Advisory Committee, is the leasing agent for the property owner of the KB Foothill Center, but he said he backed out of the lease agreement with Upland Hidden Garden when he learned it was a medical marijuana cooperative.

“At that point I said, `well, then I’m not going to be part of this,”‘ he said.

The co-op approached the property owner as a “chronic pain clinic,” Mitchell said.

Realizing it could actually be a medical marijuana co-op, Mitchell drafted two lease agreements and met with the property owner and the co-op owners.

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