Cities Sue California Over Cannabis Delivery

RIVERBANK -- With commercial cannabis now legal there are number of ways users can get it.

You can go to a local dispensary or order online and have it delivered.

It's the deliveries that has some local municipalities concerned, which has led to dozens of cities and counties suing the state.

“It is maintaining local control. In the California league of cities, local control is paramount,” said Richard O’Brien, Riverbank’s mayor.

O'Brien says his city was one of the first to join the suit because he says the state is overstepping local boundaries.

“The state is overstepping that through the Bureau of Cannabis Control and authorizing commercial cannabis deliveries to jurisdictions that have voted against it and do not want it delivered in their area,” O’Brien stated.

According to the Safe Implementation of Marijuana Policy for Local Government, the group of 25 cities and counties included in the suit, say proposition 64 gave local municipalities the power to control how, who and when cannabis can be delivered.

O'Brien says commercial marijuana is allowed within Riverbank city limits and delivery will soon be available too, but only under the city's regulation.

“We’re doing an agreement with a company right now. The deliveries would have to be in safe and secure manners, not drawing any recognitions to themselves or not to be conspicuous about it,” the mayor said.

He says the suit isn't about being pro or anti commercial cannabis use, it's about local governments maintaining control and safety.

“If you just have a delivery system without local control you may have deliveries going where they shouldn’t be going or they could be followed by individuals wanting to cause harm,” O’Brien said.

But at least one local dispensary doesn't agree.

“The black market will thrive in those cities that don’t allow cannabis deliveries,” Doug Mutoza said.

Empire Health and Wellness in Modesto claims to be the largest distributor in the Central Valley.

Mangers Travis Miller and Mutoza say as a business they already go above and beyond to make deliveries safe by restricting their drivers to carry less cash than the state allows as well as other security measures.

“All of our vehicles are GPS tracked. They have dual dash cameras facing the driver as well as facing the road,” Miller said. “They don’t go out with thousands of dollars worth of product, it is a simple transaction of you have previously picked what you want and we show up with exactly what you want and only what you want and that is by far probably the safest model.”

The managers say giving local cities and counties more control to deny deliveries will impact their delivery business but more importantly, would affect their most vulnerable customers.

“Another thing is it’s going to take away from the medical users that truly need delivery. There’s some people who aren’t able to come to our dispensary and get the products that they need so they truly need the delivery service,” Mutoza said.

The State Bureau of Cannabis Control had "no comment on this topic."

It's now up to the courts to decide.

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