Ruling could mean dispensaries drift to outskirts of towns
by Brian Leubitz
If you've been to a city council meeting in the last few years, the question of where to put medical marijuana dispensaries might very well have come up. Cities have been trying to keep them away from schools, and generally away from "nice" neighborhoods. And some cities have just tried to get rid of them. And now they can do that:
Local governments in California's have legal authority to ban storefront pot shops within their borders, California's highest court ruled on Monday in an opinion likely to further diminish the state's once-robust medical marijuana industry.
Nearly 17 years after voters in the state legalized medical marijuana, the court ruled unanimously in a legal challenge to a ban the city of Riverside enacted in 2010.(SacBee)
There are hundreds of jurisdictions that have followed Riverside's lead and banned the dispensaries, so this could make a huge difference. With the federal government supposedly taking a hands-off approach, but in reality getting heavily involved, cities have backed off the issue. With this ruling and the clarity it brings with it, local elected leaders may have to deal with the issue and the political headaches that it carries in the sidecar.
Perhaps the next question is how this will be handled in any future ballot measure to decriminalize marijuana in the state. If that comes back, will it include any provisions about the dispensaries, or will the proponents wish to keep the measure as "clean" as possible?