Dispensaries

The law regarding medical marijuana is constantly evolving. To get the latest law relating to medical marijuana in California, please contact our office.

Excepts from California Attorney General's Guidelines for Medical Marijuana published August 2008.

1. Storefront Dispensaries: Although medical marijuana "dispensaries" have been operating in California for years, dispensaries, as such, are not recognized under the law. As noted above, the only recognized group entities are cooperatives and collectives. (§ 11362.775.) It is the opinion of this Office that a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law, but that dispensaries that do not substantially comply with the guidelines set forth in sections IV(A) and (B), above, are likely operating outside the protections of Proposition 215 and the MMP, and that the individuals operating such entities may be subject to arrest and criminal prosecution under California law. For example, dispensaries that merely require patients to complete a form summarily designating the business owner as their primary caregiver - and then offering marijuana in exchange for cash "donations" - are likely unlawful. (Peron, supra, 59 Cal.App.4th at p. 1400 [cannabis club owner was not the primary caregiver to thousands of patients where he did not consistently assume responsibility for their housing, health, or safety].)

2. Indicia of Unlawful Operation: When investigating collectives or cooperatives, law enforcement officers should be alert for signs of mass production or illegal sales, including (a) excessive amounts of marijuana, (b) excessive amounts of cash, (c) failure to follow local and state laws applicable to similar businesses, such as maintenance of any required licenses and payment of any required taxes, including sales taxes, (d) weapons, (e) illicit drugs, (f) purchases from, or sales or distribution to, non-members, or (g) distribution outside of California.