Riverside City Council Vaporizes Hope of Marijuana Businesses

Riverside City Council has made its temporary moratorium on marijuana businesses officialmarijuana business with a recent 4-3 vote that put a nail in the coffin for residents hoping to one day be able to legally purchase cannabis in their city. According to The Press-Enterprise, council’s decision effectively bans dispensaries, commercial cultivation, and any outdoor grow sites. Medical marijuana dispensaries were already banned by the city in 2007, and an intensive law enforcement strategy has kept illegal dispensaries at bay. Cannabis testing will, however, be permitted.

The tight vote is illustrative of how divided the city is over the issue. Riverside County was one that supported Proposition 64 by about 42,000 votes. Yet the county has banned cultivation, manufacturing, and retail, with individual cities also enforcing their own similar bans. When residents vote one way and their representatives vote in the opposite manner, it truly flies in the face of the will of the people. Try as they might, the city and county governments do not have the power to ban everything, though, no matter how many scare tactics they use to justify their agenda.
Our Riverside marijuana business attorneys are familiar with all local, state, and federal laws regarding cannabis. As such, we can explain that Riverside is only permitted to ban certain marijuana activities under state law. Prop 64 stills allows adults 21 years and older to cultivate up to six plants indoors in a locked area of a private residence. They can process, possess, transport, or even give away limited quantities of cannabis (28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrates). Local governments can still implement regulations, but they cannot outright ban any of these activities.

City and local bans have created what are known as “pot deserts” throughout California, a term coined for areas that are 60 miles or more away from the nearest legal dispensary. Nearly 40 percent of the state falls into such a category. For those who perceive cannabis as a nuisance, this design is certainly intentional. Many, however, depend on cannabis to treat a variety of conditions, such as PTSD, Alzheimer’s Disease, as an alternative to opioids, and, yes, some people use it as a way to relax and have fun. Not everyone can grow the plant on their own, and some require it be processed in a specific way to best treat their condition. It’s a shame that the misconceptions of some are preventing so many from fully benefitting from statewide legalization.

All hope if not lost for Riverside residents, though. The county board of supervisors and planning commission are reviewing proposed regulations for cannabis commerce in the unincorporated communities in the county. If implemented, such provisions would potentially give Riverside residents easier access to dispensaries despite bans within city limits. Our legal team will be keeping a close watch on these developments with great anticipation. Our skilled marijuana business lawyers will be ready to help prepare local entrepreneurs for likely guideline they will be forced to adhere to, such as limitations on land size for cultivation, odor control, security, energy supplies, packaging, and a variety of regulations one might not even consider.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.

Additional Resources:

Riverside County is Considering These Rules for Cannabis in Unincorporated Areas, April 9, 2018, By Jeff Horseman, The Press-Enterprise

More Blog Entries:

Unincorporated Areas of Riverside County Might Get Marijuana Businesses, March 31, 2018, Cannabis Law Group


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