Dispensary ReportFebruary 1st, 2011
California's original medical cannabis law, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Prop. 215), encouraged state and federal governments to develop programs for safe and affordable distribution of medical cannabis (marijuana). Although self-regulated medical cannabis dispensing collectives (dispensaries) have existed for more than 14 years in California, the passage of state legislation (SB 420) in 2003, court rulings in People v. Urziceanu (2005) and County of Butte v. Superior Court (2009), and guidelines from the state Attorney General, all recognized and affirmed their status as legal entities under state law. With most of the 300,000 cannabis patients in California relying on dispensaries for their medicine, local officials across the state are developing regulatory ordinances that address business licensing, zoning, and other safety and operational requirements that meet the needs of patients and the community.
Americans for Safe Access, the leading national organization representing the interests of medical cannabis patients and their doctors, has undertaken a study of the experience of those communities that have dispensary ordinances to act as a guide to policy makers tackling dispensary regulations in their communities. The report that follows details those experiences, as related by local officials; it also covers some of the political background and current legal status of dispensaries, outlines important issues to consider in drafting dispensary regulations, and summarizes a recent study by a University of California, Berkeley researcher on the community benefits of dispensaries. In short, this report describes:
Benefits of regulated dispensaries to communities include:
Creating dispensary regulations combats crime because:
Regulated dispensaries are:
This report concludes with a section outlining the important elements for local officials to consider as they move forward with regulations for dispensaries. ASA has worked successfully with officials across the state to craft ordinances that meet the state's legal requirements, as well as the needs of patients and the larger community.
Please contact us if you have questions: 888-929-4367.