By Conner Munson | Inscape Editor
In a hazy twist of fate, hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries have been shut down by cities across the state.
On May 6, the California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the right for local governments to zone medical marijuana establishments out of business.
This decision has left countless cannabis club employees feeling high and dry.
Now totaling up to over 56 closures, Riverside has seen a large crop of legitimate medical businesses wilt away, seemingly overnight.
This news is coupled by a recent Los Angeles city cap on the number of dispensaries to 135, down from 472, according to a 2012 UCLA study.
The main concern, as described by the Supreme Court, is that local governments should have more control over what type of zoning happens within the city limits.
With pro-regulation activists demanding their “right” to convenient access to the dispensaries, the court ruled that there is nothing within the California medical marijuana legislation that guarantees this aforementioned “right”.
The city of Riverside has since issued dozens of cease and desist letters to the owners of the remaining cannabis collectives, warning them of the massive fines they face if they do not comply.
According to Riverside City Attorney Greg Priamos, the main concern the city has is local power, but all we have seen from the zoning law enforcement is a ban on dispensaries.
The city has largely sought to listen to its constituency, Priamos said in the same interview.
If I may ask the reader to raise her hand if they answered yes to the following question: Have you ever been asked by the Riverside City government a question in regards to your feelings about medical marijuana dispensaries in your area?
I have a feeling your hands are still fiddling with the corners of this paper.
The plain fact is, Riverside makes little money from the current medical marijuana dispensaries unless they are fining them, so it seems as if Riverside’s main concern is, if we can’t make money off of this, neither can you.
The real question that must be asked and answered by all of us here in Riverside is: who is really being hurt by the existence of these dispensaries?
In the grand scheme of all of this lobbying and court rulings, there are still hundreds of patients in Southern California that are now suffering because of the inability to access their medicine.
Patients that suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, HIV, AIDS, and countless other debilitating afflictions, can no longer find safe access to the one natural treatment they are offered. A treatment that has no side effects, and one that is cost-effective and safe for patients who abhor prescriptions because of the lengthy list of repercussions that may follow.
What we will likely see because the recent events, is an increase in elderly people wandering the street corners, using illegal means to find the medicine they need.
Riverside, are we doing the right thing?