Marijuana supporters say a California bill that would ban pot shops from residential areas is a buzz kill.

SB 847 faces a crucial vote in the state assembly's Health Committee on Tuesday and the activists are reaching out to supporters in hopes they'll call key legislators and urge them to block the law.

The proposal would make it illegal to run a medical marijuana dispensary within 600 feet of residences. Opponents said in a statement that …

The upshot would be to criminalize thousands of small-scale collective gardeners who happen to be growing on their residential property.

The measure would allow cities like L.A. to create exceptions (although L.A. already has a similar non-residential rule that has yet to be fully enforced).

In a letter to assembly Health Committee Chair Bill Monning, California NORML director Dale Gieringer says:

This bill would make felons of thousands of medical marijuana patients who currently use their private residences to grow for more than one person. Because many patients cannot grow on their own property and don't have other convenient or affordable sources of medicine, they frequently share collective garden space with other patients who do.

… SB 847 will therefore have the effect of unwittingly felonizing thousands of patients who currently have small, legal collectives on their own private, residential property.

He even goes so far as claiming the law could create a new wave of convicts for a state prison system that is already under a U.S. Supreme Court mandate to reduce its population by about 33,000.

We'll be watching.


LA Weekly