A well-known Palm Springs resident has submitted an appeal after her cannabis business had its permit revoked by city officials due to alleged illegal growing activity in an unpermitted space, which the owner maintains did not occur.
Joy Meredith, an active member of several community boards, received notice from the city attorney in a letter dated Oct. 13 that her cannabis permit was being revoked due to multiple violations of state and local codes.
City code enforcement officials first began their investigation into Meredith’s cannabis business, Joy of Life Wellness, in early August, according to the city attorney’s letter.
On Aug. 12, city and state enforcement officers conducted a compliance check of Meredith’s cannabis cultivation facility on West San Rafael Drive, and determined evidence of cultivation in a unit adjacent to her permitted space.
A couple weeks later, on Aug. 26, code enforcement officers with the city requested surveillance footage of the facility — which is required by the city’s municipal code — and determined the unpermitted unit contained several cannabis plants.
Footage from Aug. 9 showed a few of the facility’s employees entering the unpermitted area filled with plants, and then “the footage then cuts out and jumps ahead approximately 39 minutes, at which point the room has been cleared of all plants,” according to the city letter.
“Video footage shows that there was an attempt to remove the plants in a clandestine way as well as less than truthful statements by the permittee in response to the situation,” the letter states.
On Sept. 2, code enforcement officials met to discuss the cultivation activities and video footage with Meredith, who told them she never gave permission for cultivation at the unpermitted unit and “immediately took action to prohibit those responsible for the cultivation from the site,” according to the letter.
“However, these assertions are belied by text messages provided to the city and statements by other individuals involved that demonstrate Ms. Joy Brown Meredith was aware of — and directing — the cultivation activities,” the letter states.
As a result of the ruling, all three locations included under Meredith’s permit, including the Joy of Life Wellness dispensary located at 142 W. Oasis Rd., have ceased operations for the time being.
Meredith, meanwhile, maintains that she never conducted any cannabis cultivation at the unpermitted site.
“We are appealing the city’s allegations, and we’ll just take it from there,” Meredith said in an interview. “We’re just looking forward to having the opportunity to answer any questions that the city might have.”
Meredith, who owns the Crystal Fantasy boutique store downtown and serves on the Palm Springs Police Advisory Board, the Palm Springs Tourism Board and the Palm Springs Hospitality Association, said she thought the city’s ruling was severe.
“We never got any kind of warning or a suspension,” she said. “We just got a revocation of everything.”
Meredith, who first began a medical cannabis operation in 2015 and expanded her business after recreational use became legal in California in 2018, declined to comment further on why the city was mistaken in its ruling, but added she looks forward to the appeal process.
Meredith has not yet been notified of when her appeal could move forward.