San Diego

Church, Marijuana Production Company Dueling Over Rights to Operate

A church and a marijuana production business are dueling in court over the right to operate in a South Bay business park.

Andy Ballon, the pastor at Vision Church San Diego, said everything was fine until the marijuana company wanted to open up in a vacant store right down the street.

Cannversions Inc. has been trying for over a year to get a permit to use this vacant building to make edibles and package marijuana products legally. But the law says nothing of the sort can operate within 1,000 feet of a park, a school, or a church.

Rather than find a news spot, Ballon says Cannversions tried to force his church out by complaining to the city that his church has been operating illegally beneath the flood plain for the last ten years.

The city started threatening his church with thousands of dollars in fines and asking them to vacate their building.

“I couldn't believe it, I thought it was a mistake cause we've been here so long,” Ballon said.

But it was no mistake. A Freedom of Information Act request confirmed that it was Cannversions that made the complaint.

The request produced a letter written by Cannversions informing the city of an illegal church near their building, citing flood zoning laws.

In the letter, Cannversions said they did not wish to disturb the church, but, "We must ensure that such illegal and non-permitted use by the church does not negatively impact our [permit] application.”

The city has been at Ballon’s heels ever since, so on Thursday he filed suit against the city.

“If we have to leave, we're going to have to displace hundreds of people on Sundays, displace hundreds of people on Saturdays to get food. We just want to be here,” he said.

Cannversions still has not received the required permit from the city to open shop at their location.

Both Cannversions and the city didn’t respond to NBC 7’s requests for comment.

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