GOLETA, Calif. - The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities and counties can ban medical marijuana dispensaries using zoning laws. A local doctor who often writes prescriptions for patients who qualify for legal pot thinks the decision is a setback.
Dr. David Bearman of Goleta says more needs to be done to help those who are ill and use marijuana for pain relief and healing.
The ruling however, will likely snuff out many businesses statewide.
There are no dispensaries operating in Santa Barbara, Ventura or San Luis Obispo Counties. Some were shut down after strongly worded letters were sent out from federal enforcement officers who were planning to make raids on pot shops the government felt were not operating legally.
Bearman said, "I think we've made a big mistake in the way we've been dealing with cannabis for the last 75 years."
Before he writes a prescription, Bearman says, " I spend an hour with each patient and practice medicine."
He says the people who are going to be hurt by this ruling are the people who, "have the most serious illnesses."
The Director of Americans for Safe Access, Don Duncan says, " If the state legislature could be very clear for the cities about what's legal, then we feel like the cities will be more comfortable moving forward with zoning ordinances that allow for medical cannabis."
One local resident, Terry Dressler said, "you've got to provide a solution to the problem," if the storefronts are being taken away. He believes the patients should be able to legally get the marijuana they need.
Mick Guinn agreed saying, "If it's legal for medicinal use, it seems reasonable that we would have a place to purchase it. It's 2013 now. I think we're mature enough to know what to do with this."
For those still looking for medicinal marijuana over the counter, Bearman says, "there are a number of dispensaries down the road in Los Angeles."