California Court Upholds Local Medical Marijuana Bans

May 6, 2013 12:42:43 AM PDT
The state's highest court ruled that cities and counties can ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

In Fresno, the decision means police can shut down pot shops even quicker. Police Chief Jerry Dyer calls it a refreshing decision.

The city of Fresno already has an ordinance that bans medical marijuana dispensaries, but now the Chief says, his officers won't have to wait for Federal Agents to help them shut down those shops.

Chief Dyer said, "We have longed for this decision California courts."

Marijuana legislation hasn't been clear for the past few years, leaving law enforcement at constant conflict, caught in the middle between local, state and federal laws.

"The federal law said that these establishments were illegal because marijuana is illegal, and then you have the state which was in conflict and very vague," explained Chief Dyer.

Chief Dyer says his officers have shut down around three dispensaries in city limits in the past six years, and drafted an ordinance banning medical marijuana store fronts, which he says, have always been a magnet for crime.

"They're a nuisance in neighborhoods," said Chief Dyer. "They're a nuisance in business districts. And there's no place in our city for dispensaries, collectives or cooperatives to exist."

Attorney Brenda Linder represents medical marijuana users. She told Action News, "Areas that well, run, well regulated dispensaries go into reduce crime and reduce blight so it depends on who's talking- about whether they create a problem or help solve a problem."

She, and her clients have been following the courts waiting for a ruling. "It's disappointing in one sense, understandable in another."

Linder says, her larger concern is what this means for patients. "Where else can they get it from? My concern with that is illegal drug dealers."

While law enforcement says it's a "refreshing" decision, Linder says this is merely the start of the legal battles out to fight for medicinal marijuana. "It'll eventually all be legalized."

There is some legislation pending in both the California Assembly and Senate having to do with regulations over the dispensing of medical marijuana.


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