Can California cities and counties really ban marijuana delivery services?
—Roland A. Blount
Of course they can. When it comes to marijuana, cities can pretty much do whatever they want. However, creating a ban and enforcing a ban are two different things. As we have demonstrated time and time again, when there is a battle between cannabis and prohibition, weed always wins.
Last week, we mentioned the giant “ban wagon” just about every city and county outside of the larger metropolitan districts has jumped aboard. Legislators all over the state, aided and abetted and egged on by the League of California Cities, are enacting bans on cultivation, storefront dispensaries and even delivery services. There have been some victories: The city of Marina rejected a proposed ordinance that would have banned marijuana in favor of redrafting to allow licensed growth and delivery, and Santa Rosa turned down a ban so it would keep its current regulation with an eye toward creating even cooler rules. (Way to go, Santa Rosa!) Meanwhile, Long Beach banned cultivation and storefronts, but will allow delivery. There are a few more successes, but honestly, the prohibitionists are having a field day with bans.
But are all of these bans practical? How are you going to stop people from driving around with weed in their car? Medical cannabis patients can possess up to 8 ounces, so it would be hard to prove intent to sell unless you caught someone in the act. I guess the police could set up a sting operation, but is that really the best use of police time and resources? Didn’t a cop from Yuba County just get busted for attempting to sell 200 pounds of weed in Pennsylvania? Looking at you, Chris Heath (http://tinyurl.com/calicopbusted). My point is: If they can’t stop their own guy from driving around with a yang of weed (and where did he get the weed?), how are they going to stop someone with a few ounces? These bans are unenforceable.
I asked my friend James Anthony, Oakland-based cannabis zoning lawyer supreme, about these delivery bans and he made a good point: Delivery services are a natural free-market reaction to the banning of storefront medical cannabis dispensaries. He’s right.
Hey, all you legislators, listen up: You can’t stop weed. Prohibition is never the answer (I know, I said the same thing last week. People don’t listen is my point). It is way past time for cities and counties to stop being dicks about this issue. Weed isn’t going anywhere, so these politicians need to start making good decisions for their constituents. Medical cannabis clubs don’t increase crime, they increase jobs and revenue. Growing weed isn’t a threat to anyone’s health. In fact, growing medicinal weed in California isn’t even a crime anymore, thanks to the ruling from Kirby v. County of Fresno (http://tinyurl.com/kirbyvfresno). The only thing these bans will accomplish is a worsening of the status quo. Laws are supposed to make things better.