California lawmakers prohibit marijuana dispensaries within 600 feet of public schools

On the same day he signed a law that reduced marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction no more serious than a traffic ticket, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law prohibiting marijuana dispensaries from being located within 600 feet of a school.

Our Los Angeles marijuana dispensary attorneys have frequently reported on the difficulties dispensaries have in complying with numerous state and local laws that have cropped up in an effort to regulate them to the point of near extinction. For the most part, it has been ill-conceived and poorly executed local laws and ordinances that have threatened the survival of the legal medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles and the surrounding communities.

Now the state has further restricted the industry — as the legislation backed by the California Police Chiefs Association prohibits collectives from being located within 600 feet of schools.

The real issue of whether cities and counties are permitted to enact bans was not addressed by the new law, according to Damian Nassiri of the CANNABIS LAW GROUP.

“The bill does not specifically state whether cities and counties can or cannot ban medical marijuana dispensaries outright,” Nassir wrote on his Marijuana News Blog. The laws says only that cities and counties are not prohibited from “adopting ordinances or policies that further restrict the location or establishment of a medical marijuana cooperative, collective, dispensary, operator, establishment, or provider.”

Nassiri said the wording was vague and, while it might support limiting or regulating dispensaries in a certain geographical area, it does not appear to support a total ban.

Nor does the law provide a criminal penalty for violations or address the status of existing collectives that are located with 600 feet of a school. Nassiri said a city or county may be able to sue a dispensary as a nuisance under the new law, but he did not think that a dispensary or its owners could be arrested.

One thing is certain and that is that the legal marijuana industry in Southern California is under assault and the best defense is an aggressive offense. At the CANNABIS LAW GROUP we believe everyone is entitled to an aggressive and experienced law firm and are representing more than a dozen dispensaries in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP is a law firm dedicated to the rights of medical marijuana patients, collectives and growers and has built a reputation for high-powered, aggressive legal representation of the medical marijuana industry in Southern California. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.