Articles Posted in Medical Marijuana in Anaheim

Our marijuana lawyers have been watching closely the developments involving an Anaheim pot dispensary that is at risk of being forced to close its doors, due to its proximity to a school. budding.jpg

School administrators speaking to reporters from the Orange County Register have cited concerns that the medical marijuana dispensary’s location violates state law, adding that they feel it’s a bad influence on the students who attend the at-risk school.

Our Anaheim marijuana lawyers understand that the dispensary, which is on Katella Avenue inside a strip mall, is near an ACCESS program, which is for students between the ages of 13 and 18 who are considered at-risk, in some cases having grappled with alcohol and drug abuse issues. The entrance to the pot dispensary is within 100 feet of the school doors.

As of October 2010, California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.768 prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries from opening within 600 feet of a school.

That seems fairly straightforward. But what could make this somewhat tricky is that ACCESS is in not a traditional school and it is in an unconventional location. School officials insist that the same laws should apply. The dispensary, which displays the traditional symbol of a green cross, alongside a green cartoon house with a smoking chimney, has been operational for about six weeks.

Officials with the school have been working with their legal team to help shut it down. The principal has been quoted as saying that students who have displayed particular problems with drug abuse in the past could be particularly distracted by having the dispensary so close. He added that there are plenty of other places in Anaheim where it could operate.

State officials appear to agree with the school, underscoring that dispensaries have to maintain a 600-foot distance from schools. However, the enforcement of these operations is generally left up to the local policing authority.

Police officials in Anaheim said they know about the controversy and are exploring the legal options, but they haven’t taken any steps at this point to shutter its doors. That may have something to do with the fact that the City of Anaheim is embroiled in a legal suit right now over its city-wide moratorium which bans all marijuana dispensaries within city limits. It’s a high profile case, and officials seem to be waiting on the outcome of that case before taking any further action against Anaheim medical marijuana dispensaries.

A man who answered the door at the business said owners were exploring their options with an Anaheim marijuana lawyer, but wouldn’t discuss the site’s future plans.

A patient of the storefront dispensary defended its operation near the school, saying that high school students – even those considered at-risk – are mature enough to understand the difference between illicit and medicinal use.

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Another city in Orange County is sticking it to medical marijuana dispensaries, The Orange County Register reports.

It’s been like watching dominoes for our Orange County medical marijuana lawyers, who have seen city after city and county after county bow down to federal authorities and terrified city attorneys, who are trying to put an end to this legitimate industry.
Many local governments throughout California have done their best to disrupt the medical marijuana industry by shutting down medical marijuana dispensaries in Orange County and throughout the state. Some have cited federal pressure, which has been rampant throughout the year and others have pointed to court rulings.

Either way, patients who are desperate for medical marijuana in order to heal the pain of severe illnesses and small businesses that are simply trying to follow the law and run a business successfully are feeling the pinch.

Garden Grove is the latest city to fall victim to independent thinking, when city council members recently voted to suspend the registration of medical marijuana dispensaries, saying they aren’t a “marijuana-friendly city.” The city has banned medical marijuana dispensaries since 2008, but officials estimate that about 30 have opened up inside the city limits, despite the ban.

As a result, city council members voted last year to approve a registration process to better monitor medical marijuana dispensaries. The city received 60 applicants. But then the city abruptly decided to end that program, leaving those applicants up in the air.

The newspaper reports that the decision was made based on two recent legal developments — the California Supreme Court has decided to hear four medical marijuana cases after appellate courts made key rulings on the regulation of medical marijuana — as well as federal pressure from prosecutors who aim to criminally prosecute people under federal drug laws despite following California law.

According to the news article, city officials say they want to “partner” with federal agents to reach a “lawful and fair solution” to medical marijuana in the city. This sounds like language that means the city is ready to do whatever the feds tell them. That doesn’t necessarily bode well for those who are trying to provide legal medical marijuana in the city.

But Garden Grove isn’t alone in reviewing its city ordinances and local laws. A case out of Long Beach, where an appeals court ruled their lottery system for allowing or rejecting medical marijuana dispensaries was unlawful, is spurring many communities to change their rules or ban the practice altogether until there’s some clarity on the matter.

The California Supreme Court recently decided it would take up the issue of medical marijuana, looking at four separate case, including the Long Beach case, in deciding how best to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries within cities while not violating federal drug laws.

Our medical marijuana lawyers just hope that actions by these city leaders, as well as other leaders who are shutting down or not allowing new dispensaries will go by once court rulings clarify the situation in California. We believe that the will of the people is clear and that medical marijuana is here to stay in Orange County.
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It’s been a trying year for those involved in the medical marijuana industry in California. Federal pressure and threats of criminal prosecution have caused many businesses to shut down, while that same pressure has caused local leaders to buckle down on Orange County medical marijuana dispensaries and those statewide.

That has happened in Anaheim, where city leaders recently extended a year-long ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, The Orange County Register reports. Our Orange County medical marijuana lawyers are disappointed that local leaders have decided to ignore the will of the people, who clearly believe that this medicine is good for California.299648_thats_lame_bad_andor_stupi

While the original vote in 1996 allowed medical marijuana cultivation, distribution and use, the 2003 law passed by lawmakers gave the industry some direction, including giving local governments more power.

That’s why Anaheim city leaders were able recently to continue a ban that was already in place. The newspaper reports, however, that this only bans new medical marijuana dispensaries and doesn’t affect businesses already in place.

At a recent council meeting, city leaders heard from several medical marijuana supporters who urged them to consider not extending the ban. But leaders listened and then, without any debate among themselves, extended the ban.

The ban has been in place since 2007, after the city’s law was challenged by patients who argued that it unfairly limited their rights guaranteed by state law. A judge ruled in August that the city’s law doesn’t conflict with either the 1996 vote or the 2003 law, but that case is now being appealed, leading officials to keep the ban in place until the court case is ruled on and settled.

There are still many medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Anaheim, but new dispensaries are not able to get permits to open businesses. Some critics say city leaders are being hypocritical on the issue, having hosted medical marijuana conventions and other gatherings at city-owned venues in the past.

Recent court cases also boosted the city’s decision to keep the ban in place. Late last year, a court of appeals ruled that cities have the legal right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. In a different case, a court ruled that cities can’t create laws to permit and regulate businesses.

So, the court cases show that these matters are unsettled and it may still be some time before city and county leaders really have a good grasp on what to do. In the meantime, businesses are coming under scrutiny at a time when patients are forced to pay more in order to get their medication based on supply and demand. Our leaders should submit to the will of the people and not to the will of those who put on the most pressure.

Our Orange County medical marijuana lawyers are prepared to represent those involved in any area of the medical marijuana debate, whether users, distributors or cultivators. We believe that this state law is important to providing medicine for the sick and we will help those who face interference.
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A medical marijuana dispensary in Lake Elsinore will reopen after an appeals court granted a stay preventing the city from enforcing its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Our Lake Elsinore medical marijuana defense attorneys continue to see victories won by dispensaries and collectives who stand and fight for their rights against the unfair and arbitrary laws being passed by local politicians. Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996. It’s time city councils got used to it. If you are neck-deep in bureaucracy, call the CANNABIS LAW GROUP and begin fighting back. 952313_gavel.jpg

The California Fourth District Court of Appeal put on hold a Riverside County Superior Court order that permitted the city to enforce its ban on medical marijuana collectives. Recently, our Anaheim medical marijuana defense attorneys reported on our Marijuana Lawyer Blog that a similar appeal would likely be necessary to fight a local judge’s decision in Anaheim.

Often it takes an appeals court decision to win justice for medical marijuana patients, growers, collectives and dispensaries under California law. It’s those who stand and fight who are finding the best opportunities to survive and thrive.

In the order, Justices questioned whether cities can prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, when they are permitted under state law. They also ruled the city has not shown that the dispensaries constitute a nuisance. The order permits the owner of “R Side Medical” to reopen, but requires the business to comply with code and safety regulations.

Cities continue to use licensing requirements and code and zoning enforcement to regulate or force the closure of medical marijuana businesses operating legally under state law. The end result, even in areas where such businesses remain legal, is a bureaucracy that is nearly impossible to navigate. Negotiate from strength. Contact the CANNABIS LAW GROUP.

This particular collective has operated in three storefronts. At the last location, the business was raided by sheriff’s deputies and code enforcement officers. Three people were arrested and authorities seized marijuana, hashish and cash.

The owner filed a lawsuit in Riverside County Superior Court in May 2010, asking the judge to declare the city’s ordinance unlawful. But, like the Anaheim case, the local judge sided with the city.
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In a rare victory for a municipality in the struggle over medical marijuana rights in Los Angeles and throughout the Southern California area, a judge ruled that Anaheim’s medical marijuana ban is constitutional.

Anaheim medical marijuana attorneys continue to fight for the rights of collectives, dispensaries, patients and growers. In many cases, those businesses that have fought for their rights have survived and thrived. The CANNABIS LAW GROUP represents more than a dozen dispensaries throughout the Los Angeles area. 734275_cannabis.jpg

In this case, Judge Chaffe relied upon his interpretation of “mass distribution,” saying the state’s medical marijuana laws permit collective cultivation but not mass distribution. He ruled, therefore, that Anaheim was within its rights in establishing a ban aimed at preventing mass distribution.

In a victory for patients, the judge did rule against the criminal sanctions portion of the ban, saying state law provides qualified patients with a defense against criminal marijuana charges.

Some cities and attorneys could view this as a victory and a precedence for establishing local bans. Our Medical marijuana dispensary lawyers in Anaheim and L.A. think that would be a mistake. This case is likely going straight to the Fourth District Court of Appeals. Many times, local judges simply make mistakes. They fail to rule against the established powers that be in their area. They side with the prosecution too easily in criminal cases. They side with local government in civil issues. It often takes an appeals court to strictly apply the law.

A better approach would be to follow the example of Garden Grove, which has replaced its ban with a registration and grandfather process.

The Orange County Register reports dispensaries have until Sept. 23 to register with the city and pay a $200 fee.

Twenty-three cities in Orange County spent more than they collected last year. Public safety costs, pension costs and plummeting revenues continue to push cities into the red. Anaheim cut $5 million from police and fire budgets. Still, it’s trying to force legitimate businesses to close rather than seeing them as a legitimate source of revenue and a partner in rebuilding the city’s economy.

In fact, Anaheim has nearly $800 million in debts for retirement and medical benefits — the highest tally of any city in Orange County.
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