LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Legal experts predict massive closures of medical marijuana dispensaries | TahoeDailyTribune.com

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Legal experts predict massive closures of medical marijuana dispensaries

A new law and court decision are about to wreak havoc upon nearly all medical cannabis dispensaries in California. Unfortunately for the dispensaries, they are about to face legal challenges they cannot win. Worst of all, there is nothing under state law to protect dispensaries at this point and it seems only a matter of time before most dispensaries are forced to close.

The new law, AB 1300, signed last month by Gov. Brown, clearly cities the right to ban the “establishment of a medical marijuana cooperative or collective.”

Even worse, it authorizes local jurisdictions to enact new criminal penalties against dispensaries and patient collectives.

Legal expert William McPike, who has won more than 150 medical marijuana cases and represents a large number of dispensaries, is advising his clients that 80 percent of dispensaries statewide will face closure.

Lanny Swerdlow, a registered nurse, dispensaries expert and a well known activist, is even more pessimistic. “Come Jan. 1 with the new right under AB 1300 to criminalize code violations and the expected opinion by the 4th District Court that cities can ban collectives under their zoning ordinances, we will see 99 percent of the collectives closed long before Nov. 2012,” he predicted.

John D. Higginbotham, a Southern California attorney for the law firm of Best Best & Krieger, believes that dispensaries are about to become history.

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“The era of storefront retail marijuana businesses is nearing an end, at least in the cities we represent,” he said.

“The wheels of justice sometimes grind slowly, but you can only flout the law for so long before it catches up with you.”

Steve Kubby

South Lake Tahoe