East County News Service
December 10, 2018 (San Diego) – Cities and counties throughout California must allow marijuana deliveries, even in jurisdictions where dispensary sales are banned. That’s the ruling issued last week by the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control.
The agency sided with advocates who argued that bans make it difficult for elderly and sick people, as well as those without vehicles, to access medical marijuana, though the ruling also mandates legal delivery of recreational marijuana. Under the new rule, police officers and sheriff deputies will no longer be allowed to arrestlicensed delivery drivers.
The action drew opposition from some law enforcement agencies including the California Police Chiefs Association as well as the California League of Cities, which contended that allowing cannabis deliveries could increase crime in communities.
The new rules require deliveries in only unmarked vehicles that do not advertise pot products, and deliveries will be allowed only from legally licensed outlets – not illegal operations.
Californians legalized use and sale of medicinal marijuana over a decade ago and recreational marijuana two years ago with passage of Prop 64.
But though it’s legal to grow up to six plants per household, access to products such as tinctures, marijuana cigarettes, cannabis ointments and edible marijuana items have remained limited due to the piecemeal nature of local regulations.
In San Diego’s East County, for example, medical marijuana dispensaries are legal in the cities of La Mesa and Lemon Grove, but illegal in El Cajon and Santee.County Supervisors recently voted to ban all marijuana sales, though one licensed medical dispensary has been grandfathered in for the next several years. Recreational sales are outlawed in every East County jurisdiction.
The city of San Diego, by contrast, has legalized dispensaries selling both medical and recreational cannabis products.
State regulators have ruled that it’s high time for all Californians to have equal access to purchase legal cannabis products, starting in January.
But that action could be delayed if the state’s Office of Administrative Law files an objection, or if a court challenge is filed.