California: More Cities Moving To Shut Down Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

(Photo: Where's Weed)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More California cities are planning to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries following a state Supreme Court ruling that such citywide bans are legal.

San Bernardino authorities raided a dispensary on Thursday, seizing 30 pounds of marijuana, 80 plants, a 12-gauge shotgun and $9,000 in cash, and citing four dispensary employees, according to City Attorney James Penman, report Richard K. DeAtley and John Asbury at the Riverside Press Enterprise.

The city also sent closure notices to about 30 shops, threatening fines of $1,000 a day. By Wednesday, 17 of the shops had voluntarily shut down.

"Most were very friendly; their lawyers had contacted them and they were in the process of removing their signs, their green crosses," Penman smirked.

"We're treating these businesses as illegal drug houses and drug businesses," Penman bragged. "What we hope to find today and every day is that these stores have closed. Our goal is to shut everyone down." Eleven shops were still operating by the end of thursday, Penman said.

In Riverside County, the Beaumont City Council will vote on a ban on May 21, and Murrieta officials are also considering drafting one. Other Inland cities that have already banned medical marijuana dispensaries in the past two years include Hemet, Redlands, Banning, Moreno Valley, Norco, Corona, Temecula and Upland, plus Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The California Supreme Court ruled on Monday in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center, ending years of litigation in that case. The center permanently closed just hours after the ruling was issued.

Riverside City Attorney Greg Priamos said he's trying to shut down the 10 remaining dispensaries in the city; 56 have been shut down since Riverside's dispensary ban took effect in 2009. Priamos wants the federal U.S. Attorney's office to give property owners notice that the shops are illegal under federal law.

The city attorney said assessments for hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, police costs and "other expenses" can be attached to the litigation to shut down the dispensaries.

(Photo: Where's Weed)