REGION: Cities channel cash into pot dispensary fight
METRO Collective members Kay and Mark Dalli of Riverside trim excess leafage from their home-grown marijuana buds during a 2011 farmer’s market at the Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center in Riverside. The dispensary closed in 2013, after a state Supreme Court ruling that upheld Riverside’s ban on dispensaries.
, FILE PHOTO
The public’s views on marijuana have shifted since the statewide Field Poll first asked about the issue 45 years ago. Opinions on legalization differ based on region and demographics. The weakest support is in Southern California – outside of Los Angeles County – and among voters who are Republican, conservative, Latino or have not attended college.
Support for legalization:
Polls show California voters back medical – and even recreational – marijuana. And they may get the chance to legalize it in 2016.
But a handful of Inland cities are moving in the opposite direction, spending at least $1.85 million in legal battles to shut down dispensaries.
Moreno Valley, Riverside, Jurupa Valley, Upland and Riverside County each reported spending between tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to enforce their dispensary bans.
Some observers say those cities are swimming against what may be an unstoppable tide.
“The drug wars failed and people are fed up with all of the negative aspects that the drug war created,” said Robert Nash Parker, a UC Riverside sociology professor and senior researcher at the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies.
“In a way, it’s possible that Riverside and other places like it are fighting a losing battle.”
But some officials say their constituents support the fight against dispensaries, and they point out that there’s still a conflict between state law and the federal ban on marijuana.
“That means it’s illegal. It doesn’t matter what proposition has passed in the state of California,” Jurupa Valley Councilman Verne Lauritzen said.
Some medical marijuana supporters say they can understand officials’ concerns.
James De Aguilera, a Redlands attorney who has represented more than 100 Inland dispensary operators, said that after voters approved medical pot in 1996, a number of facilities opened without trying to cooperate with local officials.
Sensible regulations and a limit on the number of facilities can help solve that problem, he said.
“We don’t need 20 (dispensaries) in one city,” he said. “We need a few.”
The battle over how and where medical marijuana is provided in California has raged since 1996, when state voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed marijuana to be grown, distributed and used for medical purposes.
Public polling done over decades shows a shift in attitudes toward marijuana. According to the Field Poll, Californians’ support for legalizing pot grew from 13 percent in 1969 to 55 percent in December 2013.
Several observers said full legalization, which would allow recreational use, may be coming to California as soon as 2016 if a potential initiative passes.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
Powered by WPeMatico