Faded Glory: California’s Smoke-up or Smoke-out Debate

images1 Faded Glory: California’s Smoke up or Smoke out Debate When it comes to marijuana in its medial capacity, no one has held such an endearing relationship with Mary Jane as California. In 1996, Golden State law makers and residents approved measures to legalize medical marijuana, shocking the rest of the country and setting the precedent for the medical industry in the U.S. by allowing marijuana to be used  in the treatment of such ailments as glaucoma and chronic pain, and to lessen the effects of cancer treatments and AIDS related symptoms. Dispensaries were put in place, medical cards were issued, and pot-friendly Californians finally had access to their drug of choice in a legal context. Things seemed to be sunshine and roses on the west coast, as Washington and Colorado followed suite, sparking what has become a nation-wide appeal for the right to light up when necessary. Yet since then California’s weed industry has been moving backwards rather than forwards. Internal conflict has limited Californian’s accessibility to weed and today, individual counties won the right to outright ban dispensaries. The case which culminated today in a 7-0 victory for local governance of marijuana dispensaries started in 2010 when the city of Riverside banned dispensary shops in their zoning area. Groups like the League of California Cities spoke out against the bill passed in 1996, supporting Riverside’s choice and stating statewide legalization should not impede on individual country jurisdiction. Marijuana advocacy groups fought back, claiming counties should not be able to work against state law and a divide began in the state, between larger cities like San Francisco which upheld initial dispensary laws, and small outlaying regions who wished to free themselves from the responsibility of operating pot-shops. Since 2010, over 180 cities have enacted similar bans to Riverside’s, causing the case to be brought before the California Supreme Court today. "Nothing in the (1996 law) expressly or impliedly limits the inherent authority of a local jurisdiction by its own ordinances, to regulate the use of its land, including the authority to provide that facilities for the distribution of medical marijuana will not be permitted to operate within its borders,” wrote the court.  Justice Marvin Baker defended the unanimous vote, stating that "while some counties and cities might consider themselves well suited to accommodating medical marijuana dispensaries, conditions in other communities might lead to the reasonable decision that such facilities within their borders, even if carefully sited, well managed and closely monitored, would present unacceptable local risks and burdens.” california Faded Glory: California’s Smoke up or Smoke out Debate17 years after Californian marijuana advocates called eureka, patients in smaller counties are finding it increasingly difficult to gain access to their medication. The conclusion to side with local governments was not unexpected, say state officials, but while it may have been expected, today’s state Supreme Court ruling adds more fuel to the wildfire raging in California, as marijuana prohibition continues to gain ground in the once green-keen state.
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