Long Beach, CA Bans Medical Marijuana CollectivesBy Thomas H. Clarke | The Daily Chronic February 15, 2012
City's 18 licensed collectives to remain open for 6 months, 35 unlicensed dispensaries must shut down immediately
LONG BEACH, CA — The Long Beach City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to ban medical marijuana collectives within the city. The 18 city approved dispensaries will be allowed to remain open for six months, but unlicensed dispensaries could be shut down immediately by local law enforcement.
City Attorney Robert Shannon had sought the outright ban of collectives and dispensaries after an appeals court in October ruled in Pack v. Long Beach that the city’s 2010 permit process for the collectives violated federal law prohibiting the sale and distribution of marijuana.
Although the Pack v. Long Beach decision contradicted other appellate court rulings, several cities and counties across California have used it as a reason to suspend regulatory ordinances or completely ban local distribution. That ruling was vacated in January, however, when the California Supreme Court announced that it would review the case.
The ban motion, proposed by Councilman Robert Garcia, protects the 18 collectives and dispensaries who participated in the city’s licensing process “in good faith” while the city seeks clarification on its powers to regulate medical marijuana, the use of which is allowed under California’s medical marijuana law. In the meantime, Garcia said his legislation allows police to use “the full extent of the law” to shut down about 35 dispensaries that did not seek licensing approval from the City of Long Beach.
The council didn’t vote on another substitute motion, advanced by Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal, that would have enacted a temporary moratorium on issuing permits until the California Supreme Court rules on the Pack case, which is likely to take over a year. The motion also would have allowed licensed collectives to continue operating.
The City of Long Beach has collected more than $700,000 in application fees and taxes from registered collectives, leading collective leaders to believe they were on a course for legitimate existence in the City of Long Beach.