California City Debates Marijuana Smoking in Parks, Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

A San Jose suburb recently had a debate about whether the city should allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the city limits.

It’s amazing that 16 years since medical marijuana was legalized in California, cities are still having debates about whether or not to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Riverside and elsewhere to operate.
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One reason this has become an issue is because in recent months federal authorities have begun going after these small business owners, who are legally operating under California law. Unfortunately, state law conflicts with federal law and in an effort to garner some votes in the 2012 election, the Obama administration is causing problems for these people.

Our Orange medical marijuana lawyers fully support these businesses, which are following the law and providing a key medicine for people who have chronic ailments.

City officials in Milpitas, a city north of San Jose and on the southeast end of San Francisco Bay, recently looked at the possibility of whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within the city limits.

The police chief expressed concern over the idea of allowing dispensaries in the city since U.S. attorneys consider them a federal law violation. The chief also told city officials that there are “likely no more than 20 genuine” medical marijuana patients in the city.

The first point that should be made here is it’s likely impossible with medical privacy laws for the police chief of a city to know how many people have legitimate illnesses for which medical marijuana is a viable treatment option.

The second point the chief made to officials is that dispensaries bring the risks of robberies, money laundering, piles of cash and other crimes.

Let’s examine this a little closer. So, the police chief here believes that medical marijuana dispensaries are a haven for crime. What about convenience stores? There are plenty of late-night robberies at stores where violence often occurs. Banks often get robbed and there are piles of cash there. Money laundering? How about illegal drug dealers?

I doubt the police chief is warning officials about the risks of convenience stores and banks, yet he stereotypically slams medical marijuana dispensaries as potentially harmful to the city. These inaccurate facts have no place being presented to a decision-making body. Dispensaries are small businesses just like any other, operating within the laws of the state.

This is another politically motivated attack on people who are simply trying to run a business and earn a living. The chief encouraged city leaders not to allow dispensaries there, but if they do, to limit nighttime hours and ensure they aren’t located near libraries, schools and places where children congregate. The chief also said marijuana use shouldn’t be allowed near dispensaries.

City leaders took the comments and still believed the dispensaries should be considered in the future for “patients that need it.” While court rulings have determined that cities may not be able to issue permits, they can use land use controls and safety regulations to ensure dispensaries can open.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles, throughout Orange County and elsewhere throughout Southern California. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Fight Continues: Medical Marijuana in California against Federal Government: November 29, 2011
Additional Resources:

Committee Discusses Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Smoking in Parks, by Frank De Smidt, Milpitas Patch