RIVERSIDE (CBS) — Owners and operators of marijuana dispensaries in Riverside County’s unincorporated communities could find themselves in the cross-hairs of county attorneys, facing lawsuits if they don’t shut down immediately, it was announced Tuesday.

During its closed session, the Board of Supervisors authorized legal action against cannabis dispensaries to enforce the county’s 2006 ban against such operations.

There are 36 known dispensaries in the unincorporated areas.

As with most places throughout the state, the operations sprang up in response to Proposition 215, also known as the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which opened the door to legal medical marijuana distribution.

However, according to the Office of County Counsel, there’s nothing in the act that prohibits counties and municipalities from outlawing dispensaries.

That was the conclusion last month of the Fourth District Court of Appeals, which upheld the city of Riverside’s blanket ban on marijuana stores.

According to county Executive Office spokesman Ray Smith, county officials have investigated suspected dispensaries over the last few years and cited violators, some of whom have sued the county to challenge its ordinance against cannabis outlets.

“With the authorization of the board, county officials will use code enforcement powers, and lawsuits as needed, to pursue dozens of illegal dispensaries within the county’s unincorporated area,” Smith said in a statement.

He added that county attorneys will seek to recover costs stemming from any future litigation.

According to the county spokesman, there are no permitted medical marijuana dispensaries within unincorporated communities.

Federal authorities don’t recognize any storefront variety of cannabis cooperative as legal. The owner of two such operations in Corona and Perris was federally prosecuted last year, resulting in a six-month jail term and probation.

Only a few cities within the county, including Palm Springs, permit the activity.

Last December, the board dropped plans to forgo its ban and start regulating collectives. Supervisor John Benoit said at the time that allowing the dispensaries to operate, even under a tight regulatory scheme, would risk turning the county into a “dumping ground for medical marijuana dispensaries from throughout Southern California.”

Comments (5)
  1. Melvin Blake says:

    Shut down the dispensaries, shut down the border, shut down the tunnel, shut down welfare office, shut down food trucks, shut down strawberry field, shut down home depot parking lot. Heck, just shut their hell up!

  2. Land of the Free? says:

    Let’s look at it this way, the VOTERS approved 215…It’s what the people wanted. And now counties like Riverside are saying F* U to the voters and doing what they want, in essence a few legislators are striking down what the majority wanted. This isn’t democracy; this is authoritarianism and NOT what the sprit of the country is all about.

    Although Federal Supremacy laws trump the states, the states have an obligation to the people to stand up for what they choose and to fight Washington on our behalf, regardless of if a few people in power don’t happen to agree with the majority.

    If these dispensaries are not operating within the guidelines of 215, then go after them, but a blanket sweep is heinous.

    If you are against 215, you owe to yourself and everyone else to vote out these criminals who have no problem tramping on democracy and your liberties…Because next? It may be something near and dear to your heart that gets gutted, and we’ll be standing by your side drumming these arrogant, elitist snobs out of office.

  3. Beavis Human says:

    Oh what a fabulous waste of greatly-needed tax dollars! How much will this cost the taxpayers? The people should think about things like this as social programs like public education, welfare and medicare are cut due to lack of funds and their taxes are raised.

    Let me get this straight… They’re going to spend a huge amount of tax dollars in order to accomplish the following:

    – Eliminate lots of jobs from the county (hundreds of jobs?)
    – Reduce the tax revenues collected by the county (by millions annually?)
    – Send all the money that would have been gone to a legitimate business providing jobs and tax money to the community to criminals and the drug cartels instead, so they can buy more guns.

    Will any benefit come out of this for the community or the taxpayers? Sadly, no.

    Another thing to think about is a recent study which found that states who legalized medical cannabis saw a significant drop in traffic fatalities and alcohol consumption. So, it is reasonable to assume that this misguided action will increase local traffic fatalities and other problems associated with drinking as well. Great work, Riverside!

    There’s no greater waste than to spend direly-needed tax dollars with the sole purpose of driving businesses, jobs and tax money out of the county and redirecting millions of dollars into the pockets of criminals and drug cartels.

  4. Just make pot legal already. Stop locking us in cages for doing something that is harming absolutely no one including ourselves.

    Pot has killed a total of zero people in its entire existence.

    That’s ZERO EVER.

    Nice post! 🙂

  5. Ivana says:

    Some relaly wonderful information, Gladiolus I detected this. “Reprove thy friend privately commend him publicly.” by Solon.

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