The future of medical marijuana collectives in Long Beach won’t be debated until at least December.
Late last week, legislation repealing Long Beach’s dispensary permitting process and banning collectives within the city limits was withdrawn from Tuesday’s City Council agenda.
City Attorney Robert Shannon said the agenda change was made due to the absence of two council members.
The council is also expected on Tuesday to cancel the last scheduled meeting of November, meaning the earliest the matter can be heard is next month, Shannon added.
Supporters of medical marijuana have urged council members not to outlaw dispensaries following a Court of Appeal ruling in October that struck down Long Beach’s permit regulations, passed in 2010.
The court’s judges said that the law, which required registration along with potentially expensive fees, forced those complying with it to violate federal law that prohibits marijuana use and recognizes no health benefits from its consumption.
Long Beach is also planning to appeal the court’s decision to the California Supreme Court in order to seek clarification on the city’s powers to regulate the medical marijuana industry.
Cannabis cultivation for medicinal purposes is permitted under state law under limited circumstances.
Though federal authorities have announced crackdowns on dispensaries in the state, they have said they are concentrating on what have been deemed to be for-profit operators who are distributing marijuana across state lines.
No Long Beach collectives have been included in federal actions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Dispensaries in the city have banded together to form the Long Beach Collective Association in response to the council’s steps to prohibit collectives.
They have urged amending the current law to pass legal muster as an alternative to throwing it out entirely.
If Long Beach decides to ban dispensaries, it could tap recent legal precedent.
On Wednesday, a state appellate court upheld a dispensary prohibition by Riverside, noting that state law permitting medical marijuana usage doesn’t forbid cities from regulating collectives using zoning, according to the Press-Enterprise.
The same court also upheld a ban by Upland in San Bernardino County.
With medical marijuana absent, Tuesday’s council agenda includes an item by council members Rae Gabelich, Gerrie Schipske and Steven Neal requesting city staff to prepare a report on the feasibility of accommodating Occupy Long Beach protesters who have requested an exemption to stay overnight in Lincoln Park.
The group, which has maintained a presence at the park for almost a month, briefly disrupted last week’s council meeting in an attempt to get the council to address their concerns.
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