ASA'S QUICK GUIDE FOR EVALUATING PROPOSED MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY ORDINANCES IN CALIFORNIA
This is a quick guide to what should and should not be in city and county ordinances to best support safe access for medical cannabis patients.
What the ordinance MUST include:
- Allowance for over-the-counter/storefront
- sales (sometimes called reimbursements,
- contributions, or not-for-profit sales)
- Allowance for patients to medicate on-site
- Allowance for sale of cannabis edibles and
- concentrated extracts
- Distinction between Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives (MCDCs) and private patient collectives or cooperatives
What to look out for in proposed ordinances:
Is the general language and focus framed as a medical or healthcare issue, rather than a criminal justice or law enforcement problem?
Does the ordinance affirm that MCDCs should be organized to serve patients and have a "not-for-profit" business model?
Is there a cap on the number of MCDCs allowed to operate that could negatively impact accessibility, affordability and quality?
- How was the MCDC cap number determined (per capita, per pharmacy)?
- What criteria will be used to approve and license MCDCs?
- Will quality through competition be supported?
- Will each MCDC be required to apply for a conditional use permit, or does the ordinance specify MCDCs as an enumerated business?
- Are there proximity restrictions or "buffer zones" from so-called "sensitive uses" which will make locating a dispensary onerous?
- Has a map been prepared that shows where the ordinance will require MCDCs to locate?
Does the ordinance provide for a community oversight committee tasked with any licensing or appeals processes?
- Will the oversight committee include patients, activists, MCDC operators, and members of the local community?
What are the MCDC requirements for bookkeeping and records disclosure?
- Does the ordinance allow MCDCs to keep identifying information about its members off-site, to protect patient identities?
- Does law enforcement have unfettered access to patient records or is a subpoena required?
Are there caps on the number of patientmembers an MCDC can serve?
Is on-site cultivation prohibited for MCDCs?