A Merced City Council candidate arrested this month pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three misdemeanor allegations of illegally running a commercial cannabis business in Merced.
Lakisha Jenkins, 39, entered her plea through attorney Patrick L. Fortune in Merced County Superior Court. She also faces more than a dozen other allegations, including tax code violations and a misdemeanor charge of failing to care for an animal.
“We’re working with the city attorney and district attorney’s office to get this resolved,” Fortune told the Sun-Star.
Jenkins is set to appear in Merced County Superior Court on Jan. 9.
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The city of Merced also filed a preliminary injunction on Tuesday, according to spokesman Mike Conway, which is part of the process the city would need to pursue to shut down Jenasis Medical Group. The building in the 800 block of West Main Street is where Jenkins has been running the Kiona Foundation.
The complaint names the medical group, foundation and Familia Flores Inc., which owns the building, in the injunction, according to Conway.
“The city is seeking a permanent injunction which would prohibit each of the defendants from operating a dispensary anywhere within the city limits,” he wrote in an email. “The defendants will have 30 days from the date they are served with the complaint to file a response.”
The injunction is set for a hearing on Nov. 22, Conway said, and the city has asked the court to prohibit the medical group from operating until the hearing.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Fortune declined to comment on the preliminary injunction.
Jenkins, CEO of the foundation, has been a longtime proponent of medical marijuana use. Her foundation specializes in treatment for cancer patients.
Jenkins, a candidate for Merced’s City Council District 1, remains on the November ballot, according to the Merced County Registrar of Voters Office. If she were to be convicted of a felony, however, she would be disqualified from office in Merced, according to the City Clerk’s Office.
District 1 opponents include Sonia Fernanda Alshami, Anthony Martinez and Jesse Ornelas.