Governor’s Veto No Sign of End to Meddling with Medical Marijuana Rights in Southern California

The fight over control of California’s medical marijuana industry continued this week when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a measure that would prevent medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and elsewhere from operating within 600 feet of homes.

The Los Angeles Times reported the governor cited the rights of cities and counties to regulate the measure in rejecting the statewide law. Our Los Angeles marijuana defense lawyers continue to watch as government at all levels — city, county, state and federal — makes a mockery of the will of the voters. 131369_pot_of_gold.jpg

The deservedly maligned Los Angeles medical marijuana ordinance mandates a 1,000-foot buffer from schools, public parks, churches or other protected areas and prohibits dispensaries from being located next to or across the street from homes.

Despite voter approval of medical marijuana in 1996 — 15 years ago now — seemingly every politician in the state of California wants a hand in creating regulation instead of tackling the real problems facing their communities. Dispensaries and patients should lawyer up. The industry has won a number of major court battles. Those who stand and fight have the best chance of being around when the rights of medical marijuana patients and collectives are ultimately upheld.

For now, the patchwork of measures are coming fast and furious from every level of government. In rejecting the measure, Brown cited his support for AB1300; the governor recently signed the measure, which gives cities and counties “clear authority” to regulate the location and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Excuse us? NOTHING gives counties any such rights. It’s amazing to us that millions (perhaps billions by the time it’s said and done) of tax dollars are being spent to thwart the will of the majority of California voters and taxpayers. Voters who very nearly legalized recreational marijuana.

Brown has very clearly carried into the governor’s office the anti-marijuana agenda he pushed as the state’s attorney general.

“This bill goes in the opposite direction by preempting local control and prescribing the precise locations where dispensaries may not be located,” Brown wrote in his veto message. “Decisions of this kind are best made in cities and counties, not the state Capitol.”

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lou Correa, D- Santa Ana, said he was disappointed. Correa said he introduced the legislation at the request of officials in Anaheim, where a dispensary opened on the ground floor of an apartment building. Correa said the bill would have permitted cities to choose their own buffer if not satisfied by the 600 foot.

“I’m disappointed for the community,” Correa said. “All we were talking about is taking a buffer zone already in the law to keep second-hand pot smoke away from children at schools and extending it to keeping it away from residences.”

We’re not sure what second-hand pot smoke at schools has to do with anything. But then again we often find ourselves confused when watching politicians at work on the medical marijuana issue.

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