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Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Less than Expected

Aug 16 2016, by Jessica McElfresh in Media Coverage, Medical Marijuana

Jessica McElfresh is a cannabis attorney working with local medical marijuana businesses in California. Understanding the complex regulations governing legal marijuana is crucial for a dispensary’s success. Jessica represents three of the eight San Diego dispensaries. She recently commented on obstacles facing medical marijuana dispensaries in a San Diego Tribune article. San Diego regulations allow for 36 dispensaries. Fourteen have successfully obtained final approval. Six of the 14 dispensaries have not opened.

Most of the control regarding legalization of marijuana was put in the hands of individual municipalities by California Proposition 64. This transfer of power resulted in nearly 50 percent of California having a ban on commercial cannabis activity, according to the National Cannabis Industry. Individual municipalities use strict zoning laws to restrict marijuana businesses from selling near residential areas, schools, parks, churches, and other areas. They even define “open areas” as parks and prevent businesses from operating nearby.

Medical marijuana dispensaries face many challenges that other types of new businesses in California never face. Although California legalized medical marijuana in 1996; however, the federal government still considers the substance to be a dangerous drug. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies cannabis in the same manner that it identifies LDS, methamphetamine, and heroin.

Further, growers, distributors, and retailers are restricted financially. They cannot utilize banking for their businesses, thus, they must use cash transactions. Their businesses do not receive the same tax advantages as other organizations, and many dispensaries have been raided by the DEA.

The California Adult Use of Marijuana Act

Although Californians are dealing with difficulties regarding current marijuana laws, they continue to push for fewer restrictions on the drug. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is set to be on the November ballot. It would legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults who are 21 and older. Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. In those states, the medical marijuana industry has been made unnecessary by the decriminalization of adult marijuana use.

Uncertain Future of Medical Marijuana

Although the future of medical and recreational marijuana is uncertain in California, state agencies continue to develop regulations that will apply to various situations. They plan on requiring product testing, clear potency labeling, and specific packaging for consumer use.

California, along with 24 other states and the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana. A dozen other states are set to vote on the issue in November. The marijuana industry is in flux, and understanding the legal landscape is crucial for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Experienced San Diego Medical Marijuana Representation

Jessica McElfresh offers representation to medical marijuana businesses in San Diego and throughout California. She assists with licensing and zoning applications, as well as other aspects of establishing medical marijuana businesses and ensuring their compliance with state laws.

She also practices criminal defense law and can represent medical marijuana business owners, patients, and caregivers who have been charged with crimes related to marijuana.
For experienced San Diego medical marijuana representation, contact McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule a consultation.

California marijuana laws change frequently. For updated information, see the following pages: Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana Business