Pubdate: Thu, 09 May 2013
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2013 Record Searchlight


This week's unanimous ruling from the California Supreme Court that
cities have the authority, under their zoning codes, to bar the retail
sale of medical marijuana through collectives is no surprise.

Cities can and do outlaw fast-food restaurants and backyard hens in
the Golden State. The argument that they couldn't bar businesses that
openly flout federal law was always preposterous.

But whether they should - whether it's best for residents and fair to
the genuinely ill patients - is an entirely different question.

With mixed success, Anderson, Redding and Shasta County have banned
and tried to shut down the various collectives that have opened in
their jurisdictions - Redding in an abrupt shift from a previously
tolerant regulatory attitude when the legal winds turned. Locally,
only the city of Shasta Lake still formally allows storefront

But even if these bans were all put into effect, would they accomplish
a thing? Would they improve neighborhoods? Keep pot off the streets?
Shelter our children?

Who are we kidding?

For good or ill, marijuana growing under the aegis of Proposition 215
is seemingly everywhere in Shasta County, in city backyards and
especially in rural areas. The skunky smell is inescapable in the
fall. The ugly side effects on neighborhoods hit year-round. County
officials are launching a new drive this year to tame the huge number
of gardens - some more like plantations - that don't comply with the
county's rules for marijuana growing, yet they are far behind the curve.

With all that going on, the least troublesome corner of the cannabis
trade is the occasional clean, well-lighted storefront where patients
can meet their needs - without having to grow their own (which not
every sick person can do), drive some remote road to meet a backwoods
gardener, or do business out of the trunk of a car. The collectives'
major sin seems that they're visible, and have a fixed address that's
easy to target.

Cities need to ensure residents' quality of life and treat bona-fide
patients humanely. That means sensible rules, but banning collectives
these days is just pointless.
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