“Right to Obtain” means cities can ban storefront dispensaries.

by Find Medical Marijuana Dispensaries at Nugs.com on 05/14/2013 - 02:24 pm

Dispensary Ban

By Theodore Hartman 

On Monday May 6th  2013 The California Supreme Court handed down by a unanimous ruling stating that "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.” and that cities can use their zoning authority to ban storefront dispensaries. Now this decision has been a long time coming and a ruling wasn’t expected until June. The ruling means that any city that wants to will be able to effectively zone out dispensaries, and they’ll be able to keep them out.

There are a slew of problems with this ruling. One first and foremost is the problem that has now just been created. If many cities and counties with the boon of this decision encouraging their efforts zone out storefront dispensaries then what exactly will become of the those patients who frequented such storefront dispensaries turn to now. The government would have you believe that patients can only obtain the medicine if they grow the plant out of the ground themselves that provisions for caregivers solves the problem of patients who may be too sick to grow it themselves. But there is a big flaw that if there is even one patient for whom a caregiver cannot be acquired or if the patient does not have the means to facilitate a caregiver or themselves to grow. Growing cannabis especially cannabis that is potent enough and grown say organically is no easy feat. So when a move comes to ban these storefront’s these patients will be left to the street it is a fact. Now if patients only avenue is to be able enough and have the means to procure for themselves they’re only other outlet that will exist is that of criminal organizations.

Well patients may be able to procure from a delivery service? This Supreme Court ruling how exactly will it affect delivery services? See for many years I have heard that most affluent people who use medicinal cannabis (doctors, lawyers etc.) routinely make use of delivery services as opposed to storefronts because they have been painted as unseemly places. Now if storefront dispensaries are banned outright we can see that the most affluent and most able with the means to grow themselves will still be able to procure from services such as front door delivery.

So you can begin to realize exactly who this ruling is going to hurt elderly patients and poor patients. Elderly people on fixed incomes may not be able to afford delivery services, especially given that if the only delivery service available is far away the minimum a patient must purchase would be so high that it would price them out of being able to get the delivery guy to the house. And poor patients who may be getting by on 20$ grams will be effectively shut out of the market place.

Prop 215 clearly states the purpose for the law as such “(A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes

By this ruling clearly we can see that now patients are not ensured that they’ll be able to obtain their medicine in whatever capacity they get it. This is very important if even one patient is forced to the criminal market to obtain medicine hasn’t the law effectively failed at its purpose that now cities can and will ban dispensaries outright not all but many will now and that patients in those communities now have no avenue to obtain medicine therefore the right is gone and their right to obtain is not being ensured. 

It is very messy the whole situation because as long the federal government’s stance remains the same who is to say that even if say the state were to open facilities to ensure patients have some avenue if dispensaries cannot be had that the federal government won’t shut those down too.

Also the fact that with this ruling and subsequent nightmare that is almost guaranteed to ensue that prop 215 has failed.

There is one thing in that people are grumbling that perhaps the way this rule is being interpreted that while cities may ban dispensaries outright that they also have the authority to allow dispensaries, but that is of little condolence when you figure that before all this many cities and counties ruled out dispensaries from the beginning and the only places were dispensaries could be found since then and up till now those area’s have been trying to get rid of them. So why would anyone think now with the authority spelled out to them that they would backtrack cities that once didn’t allow will now allow them? Or the cities that were moving to shut them down will suddenly change their mind and allow them?

No which is why this ruling seems so dangerous. Also the fact that the argument probably shouldn’t have gotten this far that if in area’s where dispensaries are that crime increases or that they are a public nuisance what is the police’s job in regards to this? These are places in our communities but because they are dispensing pot they shouldn’t be entitled to protection of law enforcement like any other business or institution. Also the idea that dispensaries are causes of public nuisance because it may be the case that dispensaries become places of public nuisance, but I would say that for patients who show up get their medicine and go home how could they be a nuisance? That the reality is the idea that dispensaries are nuisances come from the public’s image toward cannabis in popular culture and the like. That resident’s in those neighborhoods got one look at a dispensary with a large green sign with a cannabis leaf and immediately associated it with hippies, stoners and undesirables. Also the phenomena of people bombarding city leaders with complaints against these dispensaries are likely these same people who are merely judging books by covers, and responding to any real public nuisance. 

There is legislation that is being considered to set up rules and regulations for dispensaries but what if they don’t pass? And others are preparing an initiative similar to Colorado and Washington which would legalize recreational cannabis.

But none of these addresses that certain patients may now be at risk of having their right to obtain put into question. And that patients obtaining medicine from the black market is no an outlet patients should be subject too. 

Now many dispensary operators should they find themselves in areas where the attitude has changed now they’re banned the operators will go underground as many have. Also that what happens if a phenomenon occurs whereby if driven from storefront’s operators start operation out of their houses? I think this ruling is just going to shift the problem if there is a problem to neighborhoods. Those operators who inform patients to pick up from some residence will create way more problems then any dispensary created. And it’ll be a matter of time before houses in residential neighborhoods are raided and news reports claiming three men in house with pounds of weed selling operation and criminal organization. That will be the reality that they won’t call these dispensary operators operating out of houses or cars as delivery services or other routes that they won’t be called a patients collective they’ll be called drug traffickers. The beauty of storefront dispensaries was the police knew where they were the people in them were operators of dispensaries. Now here comes the real wild west when patients with a gargantuan demand for cannabis medicinal or otherwise will now floods the streets with profit or begin the inevitable arrests of dispensary operators with no storefronts. If police arrest a dispensary operator who was tending patients out of his house what law will stop them from claiming they’re mere drug traffickers and not a collective for patients because they don’t have some location or some other reason.

The reality is the demand will not wane and there are profits to be had. Patients as of this ruling now have their right to obtain in question the question being whether or not they’ll be able to grow it, buy it from the streets, or be one lucky enough to find a good delivery service. As well this decision throws up in the air the vote on May 21st in L.A. because say prop D or prop F is passed either one that now the L.A. City council won’t just convene to zone out dispensaries totally? While the demand of residents may assure at least the original 135 may get to operate but even that must be put into question because even if residents vote to keep 135 open what or who will stop them from zoning them outright.

Also curious to note that this ruling has come down amidst renewed reports of landlords housing dispensaries getting further threats from the California Attorney General Melissa Haag, or that some dispensaries were raided in San Diego last week.

Now with all that I don’t know how anybody could muster the hope that cities will approach this issue with a cool head. On the contrary I’ll forecast a renewed vigor towards dismissing cannabis.

This is highlighted by recent comments the President made in Mexico when asked about legalizing marijuana he rejected the notion completely.