High court zones out pot stores
May 7, 2013
Cities and counties in California can use zoning restrictions to scotch medical marijuana dispensaries, the state’s supreme court ruled Monday. (Los Angeles Times)
The decision reaffirms prohibitions now in place in about 200 California cities, officials of which have sought to ban the store-front establishments outright, rather than try to accommodate and regulate them.
A case originating in the city of Riverside — which has shut down more than 56 dispensaries since 2009 — was the basis for the court decision.
There has been little effort on the part of state officials to manage medical marijuana and the cottage industries that surround it. Now, attorneys who argued before the high court on the zoning question agree that the next move is up to the Legislature.
Court observers said the decision also appeared to signal the court’s acceptance of the reality of dispensaries, although no specific ruling on the legality of retail sales of pot was incorporated.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) is sponsoring a bill to regulate medical pot with a new state agency.