In Rancho Mirage, the medical marijuana collective 72-067 Highway 111, that was supposed to shut their doors on Saturday, is still open. Since they are ignoring the city’s decree, the collective now faces a court order to close its doors permanently.
However, Rancho Mirage Safe Access and Wellness Center’s attorney disputes that the city of Rancho Mirage has no right to tell his clients that they must close their doors and/or relocate to another city because there is no law banning collectives in the city.
“The dispensary that I am representing isn't trying to break the law, because there isn't any law,” Joseph Rhea said Saturday. “Since (medical) marijuana is legal in the state of California, the degree in which cities and counties can regulate it is the question. You can't ban a legal act completely. You can zone it to death, but you can't ban it.”
On Saturday, the Rancho Mirage City Attorney Steve Quintanilla stated that although there is no state law banning collectives the city itself banned them in early 2011. On Monday, he went on to state that his office will likely be filing paperwork to shut down the collective. “Marijuana dispensaries are not permitted in Rancho Mirage,” Quintanilla said.
Rhea reasons that the issue with 72-067 Highway 111 being in business has nothing to do with anyone “claiming criminal activity.” The city and residents of Rancho Mirage are uneasy about the collective's highly visible location on the corner of Desert Drive and the close proximity to a residential area. While Rhea stated that his clients would work with the city to find a more discreet location, Quintanilla sustained his argument that dispensaries/collectives are forbidden in Rancho Mirage.
Currently, the California Supreme Court is considering several cases involving medical marijuana collectives, and its opinions and rulings possibly will conclude as to whether they're allowed in communities.
If the court decides that city bans are constitutional, Rhea said his clients will go ahead and close the collective.