California has incrementally legalized marijuana. At first medical marijuana was available. Now, marijuana is legal for private citizens to carry and imbibe – though recreational dispensaries are still on their way. And while California has come a long way in regard to marijuana, not all cannabis businesses are legal. There are numerous illegal medical marijuana shops around the state and cities like San Diego are shutting them down.
If you own a medical cannabis business in California and you are worried about your compliance with local regulations, contact a San Diego medical marijuana lawyer from McElfresh Law right away. We have been involved with California’s marijuana industry for years and can help you stay open and avoid civil or criminal litigation. Call today at (858) 756-7107.
What Makes a Marijuana Shop Illegal?
Since medical marijuana is legal in California, you may be confused when you are told your business in San Diego is unlawful. That is because it is not enough to comply with California law, you must follow all of San Diego’s local rules and ordinances. Many marijuana shops are illegal because they violate zoning laws. San Diego has strict zoning laws that make having a marijuana storefront tough. Another common reason for illegal marijuana businesses is that owners have not fully complied with local licensing requirements. So far, San Diego’s formal licensing process has only lead to a little more than a dozen lawful medical marijuana shops.
Additionally, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors recently approved a ban on medical and recreational marijuana farms, cultivation businesses, collectives, dispensaries and other facilities in unincorporated areas. The county is no longer allowing new marijuana facilities to open and many current or soon-to-open businesses are required to shut down in the next five years.
Meanwhile, the city of San Diego has signaled it will allow the sale of recreational marijuana. However, potential shop owners need to wait for the final regulations before trying to pick out a location. As a current or potential cannabis business owner, the complicated county and city ordinances make working with an experienced San Diego attorney to find a location even more important. One misstep in looking for the right place for your farm, facility, or retail store could put you on the wrong side of the law.
San Diego is Shutting Illegal Marijuana Shops Down
For a long while, San Diego law enforcement and prosecutors resisted using criminal charges to shut down illegal marijuana businesses, favoring civil injunctions instead. However, recently the city attorney has begun using a criminal approach to shutting down illegal businesses, partly because so many illegal shops remained open for months or more than a year after being ordered to close. Since using criminal charges, the city has closed down numerous businesses and collected almost $3 million in fines.
Do You Need a San Diego Medical Cannabis Lawyer’s Advice?
The medical and recreational marijuana industries in California are complex, and right now, ever-changing. If you are a cannabis business owner, or you want to be, you need the knowledge and skills of a local cannabis attorney like Jessica McElfresh. The state, as well as municipalities like San Diego, are still figuring out how to regulate medical and recreational marijuana. You need a lawyer who can help you carefully and accurately navigate San Diego’s current zoning laws and licensing process so that you can build a lawful and profitable business.
Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Medical marijuana business consultation requires a fee.