Statement from the City Attorney Regarding Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
The City’s moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries (and similar operations) expired June 21, 2011. This does not mean that such operations are now permitted to operate within the City. They are not. The City’s Public Safety Subcommittee met and held public hearings on this issue on May 18, 2011 and June 15, 2011. Their recommendation (attached) is scheduled for consideration by the full City Council on July 12th.
PUBLIC SAFETY SUBCOMMITTEE
Medical Marijuana (“MMJ”)
STAFF and COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
JUNE 15, 2011
CITY MANAGER’S RECOMMENDATION
In light of staff research that suggests MMJ dispensaries will present a material drain on City resources, pose substantial risks for crime and disorder, and that reasonable alternatives exist for obtaining MMJ, the City Manager recommends as follows:
- Do not permit MMJ dispensaries
- Do continue to allow conventional patient/caregiver MMJ distribution.
- Do continue to allow MMJ delivery service.
- Staff will work to develop appropriate regulations for Items 2 and 3.
- If you desire to further consider MMJ dispensaries, further public outreach and study would be necessary to evaluate the extent of community need, impact on neighborhoods and whether or not there exists an acceptable model of operation with matching, legally defensible regulations.
CITY ATTORNEY COMMENTS/ADVICE
The City has no legal obligation to permit the siting of commercial locations for the distribution of MMJ within City limits. It will be extremely difficult to draft, defend and enforce regulations that distinguish between legal and illegal operations and that mitigate all likely negative impacts. Enforcement requirements appear likely to be a substantial drain on City Attorney, Code Enforcement and Police Resources. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the City Council ultimately determines to proceed with MMJ dispensary regulations, the City Attorney’s Office will work diligently with other City departments to develop the best possible regulatory system.
PUBLIC SAFETY SUBCOMMITEE RECOMMENDATION
1. Do not permit MMJ “dispensaries.”
(defined as storefront, commercial retail operations)
2. Do continue to allow conventional patient/caregiver MMJ distribution
(defined as a health clinic, a health care facility, a residential care facility for persons with chronic,
life-threatening illnesses, a licensed residential care facility for the elderly, and/or a residential
hospice or a home health agency as authorized by Health & Safety Code Section 11362.7(d)(1),.)
3 Do continue to allow MMJ delivery service.
4. Staff should work to develop appropriate regulations for Items 2 and 3.
5. Further consider MMJ “collectives” that operate in accordance with the 2008 Attorney General’s
Guidelines by conducting further public outreach and study to evaluate the extent of community
need, impact on neighborhoods and whether or not there exists an acceptable model of operation
with matching, legally defensible regulations.