On cannabis laws

If you’re part of the majority of Californians who believe that recreational marijuana use should be legal, you may not be happy with the state Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the authority of cities and counties to regulate placement of medicinal-marijuana dispensaries. But you should be.

For one thing, it’s important to support the right of local governments to regulate land use. That’s how they plan for growth, assess environmental impacts and control placement of a variety of businesses, from farms to liquor stores. We see no reason dispensaries need be exempt from zoning laws.

Besides, the court decision marks a step forward in the process toward what polls show most Californians really want: properly regulated, decriminalized recreational use. As even supporters will admit, California’s medical-marijuana laws are a bit of a mess. The passage of Proposition 215 left a great many legal gray areas as to how medicinal pot can be grown, distributed and used. The court ruling provides important clarification regarding the role cities and counties can play in regulating dispensaries, and in the long run, that is going to be a good thing for all of us who want to put an end to marijuana prohibition.