Medical marijuana laws may have prevailed in California, but some counties are doing whatever they can to get around them. In an ironic twist of roles, counties like Riverside are using legal loopholes to keep marijuana out of the area.
In Riverside and Orange County new zoning ordinances are keeping dispensaries out. City Attorney Greg Priamos took Riverside’s battle all the way to the California Supreme Court, where they decided in May that cities had the right to use zoning laws to ban dispensaries.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen problems of zoning ordinances ousting dispensaries. San Diego has enforced zoning ordinances on dispensaries in the city and has been back and forth as different mayors feel different ways, while Long Beach enacted tough zoning ordinances to keep all dispensaries out of the city.
But Jason Thompson, a Riverside attorney representing a number of legal users and activists called Riverside Safe Access, has other ideas. Thompson has already filed paperwork to gather signatures. If his initiative is a success voters will see the option to alter the zoning ordinances on their next ballots.
Thompson is encouraging the residents of Riverside to come and out vote on his proposal. With state-wide legalization of medical marijuana done in California, zoning ordinances are the only way for individual cities to keep regulated marijuana down.
Thompson hopes to combat that. The proposed measure, entitled the “Riverside medical marijuana restriction and limitation act,” would establish a process that would allow up to 10 dispensaries to exist in commercial and industrial areas away from schools, parks and homes. With clear guidelines on how to check client IDs and doctor prescriptions as well as the selling of products and operation of facilities, dispensaries would finally have the well-regulated process that was originally envisioned for them.
To learn more about Thompson’s fight for Riverside’s citizens, visit his website, California Marijuana Lawyer.