Mission Viejo extends ban on medical-marijuana outlets

June 21, 2005

Maria Hsin, Orange County Register

The City Council agreed unanimously Monday night to extend the city's moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries to May 2006.

The decision comes after the city's initial May 15 moratorium on establishing such dispensaries, and after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 6 that federal authorities can prosecute people who cultivate, possess or distribute the plant even if for medicinal purposes.

The Supreme Court's recent decision did not overrule Proposition 215, passed by California voters in 1996. That law legalized medicinal marijuana for those with a doctor's approval.

Local policing agencies must continue to follow state law, a county prosecutor has said.

There are several marijuana dispensaries in Orange County.

The city's initial moratorium would have expired June 30 if the council had not agreed to the extension.

After Monday's extension, the city can extend the moratorium an additional year with a four-fifths vote of the council.

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