Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that allows all local governments to regulate the locations of medical marijuana dispensaries in California. The bill, AB 1300, was first introduced by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills). It was also supported by the Los Angeles city attorney, according to NBC.
This law aims to settle the issue; pot shops continue to sue local government over location regulations. Under this new law, cities throughout California will have the ability to file criminal or civil charges against shops that violate the new regulations.
Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys will continue to fight these rules and regulations. A court ruling has already sided with patients and collectives on the issue of criminal charges — ruling patients and collectives should not face criminal prosecution for something that is legal under state law.
State and local governments continue to have a difficult time understanding the obligation to obey the state Constitution. The state’s marijuana law was passed by the voters. Our attorneys do not believe state or local government has the right to construct rules or regulations that infringe upon the voter-approved rights of patients. As is usual with state government, too many of the politicians have forgotten that they work for the voters.
The governor also received SB 847 to further regulate the medical marijuana industry. This bill aims to stop medical marijuana shops from opening up within 600 feet of homes and residential areas. Although this bill has yet to be signed, it’s another real threat to the livelihood of the industry. A number of residents in local residential areas rely on the convenient location of these shops to receive their prescribed medication. Limiting their operational areas will put dispensaries out of reach for many deserving patients.
“The new law will provide a framework for stability after years of struggling with a Wild West, lawless proliferation of dispensaries across California that sometimes constitute a public nuisance or worse,” Blumenfield said.
The governor has 12 days to decide on that SB 847, which was introduced by state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana).
A number of our medical marijuana dispensaries believe that the new law will only lead to a repeat of historic regulations. Take Los Angeles for example. Back in 2010, the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa passed and signed an ordinance that required medical marijuana dispensaries to:
-Only provide medical marijuana patients that “participate in the collective cultivation of marijuana at or upon the location of that collective.”
-Keep their businesses at least 1,000 feet away from all schools, libraries, child care facilities, parks, religions institutions, substance abuse rehabilitation centers, youth center and any other medical marijuana collective.
-Close shops from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.
-Operate as a not-for-profit establishment. The only compensation it would be allowed to collect would be to cover expenses for cultivating, growing and providing the products.
It was these requirements, along with a limit on the number of dispensaries, that lead to hundreds of closed shops in the city.
A number of dispensaries have been shut down since the new law was signed, but companies are fighting back. Five dispensaries have already been shut down in Westwood, California. More are expected to be forced to close up shop.
The bottom line is that medical marijuana is a lucrative industry and should be regulated as a legitimate business in the U.S. But unnecessary regulations that put these companies out of business are only violating owners and patient’s rights.
CANNABIS LAW GROUP is dedicated to the rights of medical marijuana collectives, patients 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.
Brown Gives Cities the Ability to Control MCDs, by Sajid Farooq, NBC
The Farmacy will be only marijuana dispensary in Westwood after new law takes effect, by Kylie Reynolds, Daily Bruin
More Blog Entries:
Medical Marijuana in Riverside not Suffering Alone — Detroit Industry Faces Harsh Crackdowns, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, August 28, 2011
Medical Marijuana in Orange County is a Thriving Industry Deserving of Respect, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, August 25, 2011