Attorney Micah Bailey was recently featured in a California Western School of Law (CWSL) article titled Municipalities Rule in Wild West of Weed Law. In the article, he explains that—despite California’s legalization of cannabis—local jurisdictions ultimately have the power to keep legalized marijuana sales out of their city, town, or county.
“Municipalities are absolutely the kings,” Attorney Bailey said in the CWSL article. “The analogy to a dry county like those in my home state of Oklahoma, where counties have the right to ban alcohol sales, is accurate. Prop. 64 gives them the power to ban marijuana sales. The city of Poway here in San Diego County has done that.”
Even when medical marijuana became legal in 1996, many local governments used zoning ordinances to make it extremely difficult for pot dispensaries to open. Attorney Bailey illustrates how cannabis dispensaries and collectives were in need of proper legal representation in cannabis law to protect their rights and best interests.
However, these entities are not seeking the legal assistance of business or real estate lawyers. Rather, it has been criminal defense attorneys who have represented pot dispensaries—both for protection against law enforcement and business matters.
“There are still a vast majority of lawyers, at least in the civil sector, who would not get involved or touch this area with a one hundred-foot pole,” stated Bailey.
In regard to this sentiment, there are several factors that come into play. First, there is a lack of banking options for cannabis businesses, even though they are willing to pay taxes on their sales. Second, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it a point to enforce federal marijuana laws. Lastly, the California Growers Association (CGA) claims that the California Department of Food and Agriculture violated voters’ intent by favoring corporate growers over smaller ones.
Attorney Bailey graduated from CWSL in 2006 and is considered one of the pioneers of Southern California’s cannabis law. He began working in the marijuana practice field in 2014.
At Purdy & Bailey, LLP, we provide legal services to protect the rights and best interests of cannabis businesses. With more than 65 years of collective experience, our legal team has a thorough understanding of California and federal marijuana law in order to guide you through the complexities of the legal system and help you obtain the best results possible.
For more information, contact us and request a confidential consultation today.