Rancho Santa Margarita Bans Medical Marijuana Shops

Yesterday the Rancho Santa Margarita City Council unanimously enacted a temporary moratorium on new medical marijuana shops opening shop in the city. But, they say the hold is for "at least" 45 days, which is what makes us a little nervous.

Rancho Santa Margarita has put the moratorium into effect immediately while city staff investigates land-use issues associated with medical marijuana shops in the city. This means that these specific businesses (we don't approve of the term "pot shops") will be prohibited from establishing, operating or obtaining a permit to exist in the city, according to City Attorney Greg Simonian.

Apparently the city's current zoning code, dispensaries are prohibited under the usage criteria. City staffers will be making recommendations to the City Council after studying and evaluating regulatory options for the medical marijuana dispensaries in relation to the city codes. They will also consider impacts from how dispensaries are treated and operated in other cities in Orange County and statewide, said Simonian.

According to Simonian, after two dispensaries opened within the city, and other requests were received from additional dispensaries looking to open within city limits, a request to issue the moratorium was brought to the City Council.

We wonder how this compares to our recent case against the City of Lake Elsinore, although our client had opened their medical marijuana dispensary on a city-issued business license, and was not a zoning issue. We would welcome any questions or calls from the two dispensaries currently operating in Rancho Santa Margarita, as we've been successful in defending others in similar cases.

If you're in need of a defense attorney for your medical marijuana collective, please call the Law Offices of Glew & Kim immediately on 866-416-2161, or use our online form for a Free Case Analysis. We believe in equal access to justice for all, and getting medication to those people who need it.

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