City Attorney Dennis Herrera Defends Medical Marijuana Permitting

Medical marijuana does not grow on trees (pot plants are much smaller). And cannabis does not fall from the sky: In order for marijuana users to access their preferred medicine — and in order for the will of the voters to be respected — “patients” need to acquire cannabis from somewhere.

In California, this somewhere has become taxpaying storefronts, also known as dispensaries.

Cities' abilities to enact some sort of control over dispensaries is at legal risk: A case currently before the state Supreme Court will decide if California cities and counties can legally regulate medical marijuana, or if federal law renders all local control — like San Francisco's Medical Cannabis Act — invalid.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera entered this discussion on the side of local law — or, from local cannabis advocates' perspective, on the side of the magic plant — when he filed an amicus brief today. Invalidating the city's regulatory scheme would either ban medical marijuana facilities outright, or force a return to the wild, unregulated days, Herrera told the Supreme Court.

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