Question: 1) Is it possible for a store front
medical marijuana dispensary to be legally operated under the Compassionate Use
Act of 1996 (Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.5) and the Medical Marijuana
Program Act (Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11362.7-11362.83)?
Answer: State law not only allows store front
medical marijuana dispensaries, it encourages them.
What is a Store Front?
What does “store front” mean in precise terms? There is no
restriction in state law as to where caregivers may operate. Therefore, they
may legally rent or acquire property of any type that is suitable to their
purpose, subject only to local zoning restrictions.
SB 420 specifically states that caregivers may provide for more
than one person, with no defined upper limit on the number. At least one court
case has said that 8,000 patients is too much, but that is one court in a local
Neither are there any restrictions of the relationships of
caregivers and patients. Caregivers may be relatives, friends, or someone the
patient just met.
Therefore, with no opposing state regulations in place, it would be
legal for a caregiver to rent a location that could be otherwise used for a
common store as a place to meet with any number of people for whom the
caregiver provides marijuana, subject only to local zoning and licensing
restrictions. Similarly, with no restrictions in the law on advertising, the
caregiver could advertise or distribute fliers or other materials to tell
people about the meeting, subject only to whatever modest restrictions would
apply to any other ordinary merchant or citizen.