Long Beach Marijuana Collectives Can Be Criminally Prosecuted Rules Judge
2011-07-21 · By Editor
A Superior Court Judge ruled on Wednesday that marijuana dispensary operators in Long Beach can be criminally prosecuted, announced Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert.
“State law was never intended to allow large-scale sales of marijuana, and was never intended to eliminate all local control,” City Prosecutor Haubert added. “Operators who ignored notices from the City and continue to violate the law can and should be criminally prosecuted.”
Superior Court Judge Laura Laesecke heard the motion, filed on behalf of defendants in 14 cases prosecuted by the City Prosecutor’s office. In denying the collective operators’ motion, Judge Laesecke stated that Long Beach’s ordinance is not preempted by State or Federal Law and the City Prosecutor can enforce the ordinance by criminal prosecution.
While the ruling upholds Long Beach’s ordinance, a similar challenge to the City of Los Angeles’ ordinance was preempted by State law and those who violate it cannot be criminally prosecuted. The City of Los Angeles is appealing that ruling.
“Today’s ruling confirms the right of Long Beach residents to protect their neighborhoods from illegal marijuana dispensaries,” said City Prosecutor Haubert.
Long Beach’s ordinance, approved by the City Council last year, allows marijuana collective to operate with a permit from the City. Collectives must pass background checks, and be located outside of residential areas and away from schools, parks and other collectives. Violators face up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine per violation if convicted.
City Prosecutor Haubert filed the 14 cases earlier this year when some dispensaries refused to close after receiving formal notice they are in violation. The 14 cases directly affect 5 dispensaries in Long Beach and were filed because operators established dispensaries in illegal locations or refused to apply for a City permit. The ruling does not affect collectives that are in compliance with Long Beach’s ordinance.
City Prosecutor Haubert argued the motion in court on behalf of the prosecution. Attorney Charles Farano of Placentia argued on behalf of the 14 defendants.
For more information, visit www.CityProsecutorDougHaubert.com.