ANAHEIM – The city is turning the lights off at medical-marijuana dispensaries that illegally opened across the city in a move to get them to leave.
The strategy has worked.
Last month, nine dispensaries closed, Anaheim spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz said, and eight others likely will be closed by the end of the week.
Additionally, 11 others soon will be ordered to shut down or have their water and electricity cut off by Anaheim, which, unlike many cities, operates its own utilities, Ruiz said.
“Any business that doesn’t have water and power isn’t very effective,” Ruiz said. “It’s worked so far, but if we find that they are still operating, then we will find a way to shut down these businesses.”
The medicinal pot shops have been cropping up since the city banned them more than a year ago.
While calling it a good “first step,” Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray wants the City Attorney’s Office to develop a more aggressive approach.
Along with targeting business owners, Murray said she would like to see penalties levied against property owners who lease space to the shops and then “look the other way.”
“We want our police officers to be able to focus on crimes against people rather than go after these businesses,” she said.
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I think California will join Colorado in legalizing marijuana in the next few years, There will almost certainly be a legalization initiative on the 2016 ballot, funded by the medical marijuana industry and technology tycoons. It will almost certainly pass unless law enforcement groups fund a “no” campaign, and even then it is still likely to prevail.
I also think local governments should be given wide berth to regulate marijuana. Under current law, they have the power to ban dispensaries entirely, and I fully support such bans. Until and if marijuana is legalized, it is entirely proper and good for the City of Anaheim to work to shut down these operations.