Don't Bogart That Joint, My Friend

Dwight Merriam's picture

"Don't Bogart That Joint, My Friend"

Lyrics: Lawrence Wagner
Music: Elliot Ingber

(on the soundtrack of "Easy Rider")

Chorus
Don't bogart that joint my friend
Pass it over to me
Don't bogart that joint my friend
Pass it over to me

Roll another one
Just like the other one
You've been holding on to it
And I sure will like a hit

[chorus]

Roll another one
Just like the other one
That one's burned to the end
Come on and be a real friend

[chorus]

Marijuana is prescribed for certain medical conditions, such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation. Since 1996, at least 13 states have legalized the sale of medical marijuana.

Now, check your zoning regulations and see what districts allow this land use: "Retail Sales – Medical Marijuana." Couldn't find it, right?

NOTE: This post was originally published on International Municipal Lawyers Association Local Government Blog, available at http://imlablog.wordpress.com.

I first saw mention of this issue in Longmont, Colorado. It's legal there and buyers now don't have to drive into Boulder to get their meds. Here's a local proprietor with product to be prepared for sale. One of his newest patients has had 14 knee surgeries and needs the pain relief.

Larry Hill - owner of the The Apothecary, 1314 Coffman St. - displays a medical marijuana plant Thursday that he has grown and harvested. Hill said he opened his medical marijuana dispensary in February and has

Larry Hill - owner of the The Apothecary, 1314 Coffman St. - displays a medical marijuana plant Thursday that he has grown and harvested. Hill said he opened his medical marijuana dispensary in February and has "over 50 patients." Lewis Geyer/Times-Call

When I started searching for other communities facing the issue of local zoning for medical marijuana sales, it was obvious there is a widespread debate. Interestingly, Colorado and California, two of the 13 states allowing the sale, have most of the news stories. Do you suppose their residents in those two states have special needs for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation?

Aspen, Colorado allows sale anywhere an office is permitted, says the city's planning director.

It's being debated in Brush, Colorado, where there has been discussion (click here and here) about distancing requirements which would put the dispensaries on the same footing as liquor stores and sexually oriented business, hardly the medical treatment model.

San Diego, California, has created a task force on the subject, but police are reportedly raiding dispensaries, guns drawn, bursting in using battering rams.

Charles Ziegenfelder, owner of PB 420 Cheech & Chong Headquarters, poses for a portrait just minutes before being informed that raids are being conducted at dispensaries in the area. Photo: Sam Hodgson. Courtesy www.voiceofsandiego.org

Charles Ziegenfelder, owner of PB 420 Cheech & Chong Headquarters, poses for a portrait just minutes before being informed that raids are being conducted at dispensaries in the area. Photo: Sam Hodgson. Courtesy www.voiceofsandiego.org

And, yes, there is even case law on the subject, from California, of course, where the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District held that Claremont did not have to zone for the use and that the city could declare the dispensing to be a nuisance, at least where it appears the use is not permitted. Go here for the actual decision.

For a good model zoning ordinance on "Medical Marijuana Dispensaries", where else better to go than Berkeley, California?

Dwight Merriam is a lawyer representing developers, local governments, landowners, and advocacy groups in land development and conservation issues.

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