California Marijuana Dispensary Laws
What does California law say about marijuana?
If you are currently under investigation or have been charged with violating
California's drug laws, it may be because you have misunderstood Proposition
215, the Compassionate Use Act, or another one of California's marijuana
laws. In recent years, hundreds of cities and counties throughout California
have faced the issue of whether to ban or permit the hundreds of medical
marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives that are springing up all over
California. The proper legal terms for "dispensaries", which
are essentially medical marijuana establishments and retail-style storefronts,
are "collectives" and "cooperatives".
When Proposition 215 was made into the Health & Safety Code Section
11362.5, it became legal for patients and their designated primary caregivers
to possess and cultivate
marijuana for personal medical use. This was only possible, however, with the recommendation
or approval of a California-licensed physician. This law was expanded
again in 2004 with California Health & Safety Code Sections 11362.7-.83,
which allowed patients to form medical cultivation "collectives"
or "cooperatives" and also established guidelines for how much
marijuana patients can possess and cultivate.
The Issue with Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
One of the most fiercely contested and controversial issues relating to
medical marijuana is the use of local medical cannabis "dispensaries"
that are storefronts where medical marijuana is distributed. Without these
dispensaries, it is difficult for medical marijuana patients to access
safe marijuana, but law enforcement agencies and prosecutors continue
to oppose these dispensaries. Many law enforcement agencies go so far
as to conduct raids and crackdowns on dispensaries, arresting individuals
and prosecuting them under dishonest arguments that distort California's
medical marijuana laws.
This issue is far from resolved, and has been an ongoing problem that has
led to many different approaches taken by the cities and counties throughout
California. Some counties have banned medical marijuana dispensaries altogether,
others have adopted a wait-and-see approach, others have issued local
ordinances permitting and regulating dispensaries, and some counties have
no local medical marijuana regulation at all.
Recent Changes to California Marijuana Dispensary Laws
Starting in late 2011, the Obama administration began to crack down on
marijuana growers and distributors, including those operating storefront
dispensaries. After many raids and property seizures throughout Orange
County, particularly in areas like Costa Mesa, South County, Anaheim and
Santa Ana, some cities actually started banning dispensaries. Riverside
was one of the first Orange County cities to ban dispensaries, and this
ruling by the California Supreme Court on May 6, 2013 effectively stated
that any city in the state that wanted to prohibit storefront dispensaries
was free to do so.
As a result of this recent ruling, all dispensaries in certain Orange County
cities were ordered to be shut down by May 14 or they would face immediate
raids and fines of $1,000 per day. Many of these aren't shutting down
without a fight, however, and some Congressmen have introduced bills that
would force the federal government to stop interfering with states that
have already legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.
Help from a Knowledgeable OC Marijuana Attorney
If you have been arrested for suspicions of crime relating to medical marijuana,
you should immediately take action to protect your rights by contacting an
Orange County drug crime lawyer. Here at the
Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, you will find the legal advice and tough defense that you need. Many
cities throughout Orange County have invited the federal government to
help them in their efforts to eradicate marijuana dispensaries and similar
operations, and you may be facing federal prosecution for something that
you did not know was illegal.