I’ve watched the medical marijuana issue from the sidelines since it first came before the city council. The approach that this council is taking towards this issue is going to create a nightmare, a nightmare for law enforcement, code enforcement and for the city’s legal department.
Firstly, I have heard any number of reasons why dispensaries should not be allowed In Longmont (or for that matter – anywhere), but the underlying reason has not even been a whisper. The Colorado constitutional amendment that allowed medical marijuana had its proponents and its opponents. The opponents lost. When something like this happens all manner of political maneuvers are set in motion to overturn the decision.
Longmont, as well as many other towns and cities, are denying dispensaries because they are trying to interfere with the majority’s will in allowing medical marijuana.
The specifics for growing marijuana for medical purposes have yet to be codified, but the direction that the city is taking is going to make it incredibly difficult for law enforcement. Cultivating marijuana will be anywhere and everywhere. No one will know where. No one will know if it’s legitimate. As long as it’s grown quietly, it is likely to be pervasive. The same condition applies for code enforcement.
And lastly, there is the inevitable lawsuit. This from a council majority who made one helluva big deal out of the Firestone lawsuits. Can’t have lawsuits. Have to work with our neighbors. I guess those who have legally owned dispensaries until now are not neighbors. And the difficulties imposed upon the most needy of medical marijuana users aren’t neighbors either.
California has a much longer history with this issue, but it looks to me like Colorado and Longmont are choosing, at best, to reinvent the wheel.
I quote from the California Attorney General’s guidelines:
“The incongruity between federal and state law has given rise to understandable confusion, but no legal conflict exists merely because state law and federal law treat marijuana differently. Indeed, California’s medical marijuana laws have been challenged unsuccessfully in court on the ground that they are preempted by the Controlled Substances Act. (County of San Diego v. San Diego NORML (July 31, 2008) — Cal.Rptr.3d —, 2008 WL 2930117.)
Congress has provided that states are free to regulate in the area of controlled substances, including marijuana, provided that state law does not positively conflict with the CSA. (21 U.S.C. § 903.) Neither Proposition 215, nor the Medical Marijuana Program, conflict with the CSA because, in adopting these laws, California did not “legalize” medical marijuana, but instead exercised the state’s reserved powers to not punish certain marijuana offenses under state law when a physician has recommended its use to treat a serious medical condition. (See City of Garden Grove v. Superior Court (Kha) (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 355, 371-373, 381-382.)
Court cases are cited.
But all of this is immaterial. The intent, whether local or by further state provisions, is not to facilitate Colorado Amendment 20. It is to circumvent it.