The supreme court of the state of California has ruled that the state’s cities and counties rightfully have the power to ban medical marijuana dispensaries within their respective territories. The state’s highest court made this ruling in a unanimous fashion less than two decades after California first adopted the bill permitting medical marijuana. The court said neither that bill, Proposition 215, nor any “companion measure” prevents local governments from passing their own legislation to outlaw storefront dispensaries.
Justice Martin Baxter explained why the court made its ruling, saying, “While some counties and cities might consider themselves well-suited to accommodating medical marijuana dispensaries, conditions in other communities might lead to the reasonable decision that such facilities within their borders, even if carefully sited, well managed, and closely monitored, would present unacceptable local risks and burdens.”
Those in favor of current medical marijuana laws argue that allowing cities and counties to prohibit pot shops defies the intent of the state’s original medical marijuana law: to make the drug accessible to those with a doctor’s recommendation.
Several municipalities have already passed bans on marijuana dispensaries and several more were awaiting the Supreme Court’s decisions before enacting bans of their own. Up until now, lower courts had issued conflicting rulings
As a recovering marijuana addict with experience dealing with dispensaries, I can only say that I am thrilled this ruling has been made. In reality, the dispensaries and doctors who allow people to get licensed pot don’t play fair. They are largely for-profit and don’t care about most of their patients/clients. Doctors issue recommendations to almost anyone, without checking or verifying medical records as required by law. I know this from experience. At least twice I was issued a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana without any documentation to support my claims. My injuries were legitimate, but in reality I exaggerated the severity of the resultant pain. My pain wasn’t anything that a few ibuprofen couldn’t fix.
Dispensaries, which are actually not allowed to sell marijuana but rather take donations based upon recommended values, do not abide by the law either. According to the California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (CANORML) patient guide: “Sales of marijuana are NOT permitted under Prop 215. However, SB 420 authorizes legal caregivers and collective/cooperative members to charge for their expenses in growing for others on a ‘non-profit’ basis”. I have grown marijuana myself, so I know the costs involved. Even when when using high-end equipment, top-quality light bulbs, seeds, organic nutrients, purified water, various soil amendments or hydroponic media, and paying rent, utilities and labor, the cost to produce pot should not exceed $150 per ounce. However, dispensaries are charging much more than the cost of production, without compassion or flexibility, often charging upwards of $400 per ounce. Some marijuana is also grown outdoors on public or private land, where production costs are minimal.
I was at a medical marijuana dispensary once to make a purchase and came up just a few dollars short. I told them that’s all the money I have, which was still over $200 and they basically said “screw you”. The pot was prepackaged for sale and the “bud-tender” failed to accommodate my business which was consistent and loyal. It’s like going a candy shop and asking for ten dollars’ worth. The clerk weighs the candy, but after tax you are about a dollar short. Rather than simply remove a piece of candy, the clerk looks at you like you’re an idiot. They didn’t even care to ask if I would have enough medicine to be okay
In addition to this, dispensaries also solicit for separate donations on top of their sale prices indicating further that making a donation (the only way permitted by the law written to legalize the medical pot) has nothing to do with getting pot. The dispensaries are profiting, pure and simple. I sincerely hope that counties and cities will rally behind this ruling, banning medical marijuana “candy shops” in their jurisdictions.
The legal debate will likely continue for quite some time. Over the past several decades the medical marijuana lobby has become organized and gained strength. USA Today clues us in to what’s ahead: “Pending legislation would establish a new statewide system for regulating and licensing the medical marijuana industry and clarify the role of dispensaries in it. Activists also are in the early stages of planning a ballot initiative that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana and regulate it like alcohol, as voters in Washington and Colorado did last year.”
“California Supreme Court: Cities Can Ban Pot Stores.” Usatoday.com. USA Today, 6 May 2013. Web. 07 May 2013.
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