Officials Should Be Able To Ban Pot Shops?
Calaveras Marijuana Gardens 2011
This week an informal myMotherLode.com poll question was related to a ruling by the California Supreme court which upheld the city of Riverside's right to ban "Pot Shops".
The myMotherLode.com poll question was: Should City Officials Be Able to Ban Pot Shops? Two-thirds or 66% said Yes, thirty-two percent said No to banning them.
The unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court was that neither the state's voter-approved law legalizing medical marijuana nor a companion measure adopted by the Legislature prevents local governments from using their land use and zoning powers to prohibit storefront dispensaries. The news story "Banning Pot Shops Allowed" is here.
Page 38 of the court's opinion states the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and the
Medical Marijuana Program are "careful and limited forays into the subject of medical marijuana, aimed at striking a delicate balance in an area that remains controversial, and involves sensitivity in federal-state relations. We must take these laws as we find them, and their purposes and provisions are modest. They remove state-level criminal and civil sanctions from specified medical marijuana activities, but they do not establish a comprehensive state system of legalized medical marijuana; or grant a -right of convenient access to marijuana for medicinal use; or override the zoning, licensing, and police powers of local jurisdictions; or mandate local accommodation of medical marijuana cooperatives, collectives, or dispensaries."
Last summer, a trial judge ruled that Riverside County could not close medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas because the move did not give the shops any room to operate legally under state law.
According to the Associated Press (AP) about 200 jurisdictions statewide have similar prohibitions on retail pot sales.
Sonora City Council's moratorium on marijuana dispensaries passed November 2010.
There are currently 2 dispensaries operating in Calaveras county. Their ordnance from 2005 states "It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to regulate availability and/or the distribution, by whatever means, of medical cannabis within the unincorporated area of Calaveras County."
The ordnance includes the provision that no cannabis shall be smoked, ingested or otherwise consumed in or nearby the dispensary and that children under the age of eighteen shall not be allowed inside unless they are a qualified patient or a primary caregiver. The dispensary is are subject to HIPAA regulations and if the dispensary provides cannabis in the form of food they are required to have a permit from the county environmental health department.
Written by Sabrina Ambler