Anaheim Continues Ban On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

January 10, 2012
By The Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera, Jr. on January 10, 2012 12:43 PM |

City officials recently extended a ban on Anaheim medical marijuana dispensaries as leaders try to figure out how legal challenges to California's law will play out, The Orange County Register reports.

California's medical marijuana industry has come under fire from all sides in recent months, as federal prosecutors have threatened to bring charges against not only dispensaries and cultivators, but also the landlords who rent them space to do business. This has led to local officials becoming unsure about how to proceed. It appears Anaheim city leaders are also not sure how to move forward in the wake of the recent controversy.
Our Santa Ana criminal defense attorneys are constantly following any news in the medical marijuana field in California because it affects many people. Many patients lean on this drug as a painkiller for debilitating diseases like cancer. Dispensaries and collectives operating within the bounds of state law get harassed by federal agents as well as local law enforcement, who try desperately to prove they are operating illegally.

Anaheim city officials recently unanimously approved keeping a ban on pot dispensaries through January 2013. Four speakers addressed council members at a recent meeting, urging them to strictly regulate dispensaries and tax them, but council members didn't listen and voted without comment to extend a moratorium.

Despite California voters -- and no doubt Anaheim voters -- asking that marijuana be legalized for medical use in 1996, the city has banned operations in city limits since 2007. The city's law was challenged by patients who said the law unfairly limited their rights based on the state law, the newspaper reports.

In August, a judge ruled that the city's law doesn't conflict with either the 1996 law passed by voters or the 2003 state law that allows for medical-grade marijuana to be used by patients. But the case is being appealed, so city leaders decided to wait another year before making any changes to medical marijuana in the city limits.

The city council's ruling doesn't prohibit grandfathered-in dispensaries from operating, but it puts an end to the addition of new dispensaries in the city. The city's action comes as major court cases revolving around medical marijuana are ongoing. In November, an appeals court ruled that the city of Riverside won a case that says cities can legally ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Another ruling stated that cities can't create laws that would regulate these businesses.

On top of pressure from federal authorities, this has become a difficult topic in California. While there is clearly a demand from medical marijuana patients, there is also backlash from city and county officials, who are trying to limit these. And then there are law enforcement officers, who try to make arrests, even when they're not justified. Those in the industry require strong legal representation if they are arrested or threatened with criminal action.

If you are facing medical marijuana charges in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera Jr. to discuss your options. With three decades of experience, Attorney LaBarbera has argued more than 200 criminal trials and appeals. Call (714) 541-9668 for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Orange County Come Under Fire: October 26, 2011

Additional Resources:

Anaheim extends medical pot ban for 1 year, by Eric Carpenter, The Orange County Register