City Council Aims to Shut Down Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Glendale

An ordinance that will put a permanent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Glendale was introduced by Glendale City Council earlier this week. This ban was introduced just two months before a moratorium prohibiting the shops is set to expire, according to the Glendale News-Press.

As it stands now, zoning codes keep the medical marijuana dispensaries under thumb. That’s not good enough for city officials though. They’re looking for more strict regulations and enforcement as they say interest has grown in recent years.
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Our Glendale medical marijuana attorneys understand how “convenient” this new ordinance is. As the City could enacted a moratorium back in 2009 to prevent any and all dispensaries from opening, the council is well aware of its expiration in September. What’s even more convenient is that this moratorium does not allow for an extension. This is exactly why City Council is looking to enact an entirely new ban on the industry.

Last month, city attorneys were instructed by council to draft out an all-out ban.

These same city officials were hoping that a decision by a state appellate court regarding a similar ban in Anaheim would provide their government with a legal precedent. Unfortunately for them, the state 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana sent a legal challenge of the city’s ban back to a lower court for yet another review. Even as courts fail to rule in favor of cities enacting such bans, the politicians continue to force the issue, incurring millions in tax payer legal fees and other expenses in the process.

Glendale’s proposed ordinance uses zoning code amendments to shut the door on dispensaries. This same ordinance specifically calls out medical marijuana dispensaries and bans them from operating in any zone.

“State law allows cities to make decisions about their zoning laws,” said Senior City Atty. Carmen Merino. “We really feel that this ordinance will protect the citizens of Glendale and be in compliance with both federal and state law.”

South Pasadena, La Cañada, Flintridge, Pasadine and Burbank are all among local cities that have also prohibited the operations of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries were able to open in Los Angeles because the city did not enforce a moratorium. Last year though, Los Angeles passed an ordinance that was to limit the number of these dispensaries to only 70. Shops that were open before 2007 were exempt from the new rules. That fight is ongoing.

In cities in which dispensaries have been permitted, oppositional parties report that there has been an increase in burglaries, vandalism, illegal drug sales and other crimes. A number of studies have proven this to be completely false.

Supporters of medical marijuana report that California law prohibits all-out bans and local government officials should feel obliged to address the needs of local patients. It will be up to dispensary owners and patients to stand and fight for their rights.

Glendale City Council is expected to cast their final vote on the ordinance next week.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California, including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

City moves ahead with ban on pot dispensaries, by Mark Kellam, Glendale News-Press
More Blog Entries:

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Garden Grove Now Required to Register with City Council, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, July 24, 2011

Government Officials Meet to Straighten Out Medical Marijuana Regulations, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2011

U.S. Officials Propose Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Nationwide, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, June 30, 2011