CALIFORNIA: The city of Covina took a clear stance against medical marijuana sales Tuesday when officials banned all types of medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within city limits.
“We want to clearly stand up and say that this use is prohibited in this community, it’s a clear message,” City Manager Daryl Parrish said. “Our position is that marijuana use violates federal law. We don’t want there to be any confusion around that fact.”
The city’s decision follows a California Supreme Court ruling in May that allows cities to make their own decisions on whether medical marijuana dispensaries can operate within their borders. Covina council implemented an urgency ordinance in July but adopted a standard ordinance Tuesday to clarify their description of a dispensary to include all types, including mobile units. A staff report to council cites roughly four dispensaries within 10 miles of Covina that advertise direct delivery to the city.
Covina officials previously forced a medical marijuana dispensary, LPC Center, to shut down through an injunction in late 2012 after saying it opened illegally.
“There was just a lot of activity, a lot of traffic going in and out,” Parrish said in regards to LPC. A staff report to the council references an increase in crime related to dispensaries, including an incident in May 2012 where a dispensary delivery man was attacked and robbed by men in ninja costumes.
Crime tends to follow the businesses, according Mayor Walt Allen III, a retired law enforcement officer.
“Typically when there is a dispensary that sets up shop, there is a lot of criminal activity that occurs in the area,” Allen said. Issues include robberies, fraudulent physician recommendations and the resale of the purchased medications, according to the staff report.
The availability of other prescription medications with similar effects negates the need for medical marijuana, Allen said. The system has become corrupt with doctors giving out prescriptions without even meeting patients, he said.
“It has just been a catastrophe — the marijuana law — here in the state of California,” he said. “It has pretty much turned into a money making enterprise. These people have no concern about the well being or health of anybody, they just want to make money.”
The owner of a medical marijuana collective operating in the San Gabriel Valley spoke about the topic anonymously out of fear of being shutdown.
His dispensary, which has a listed address right outside of Covina limits, delivers marijuana to about 20 patients, with the youngest patient being roughly 40 years old.