Ever since November 2016, Californians are legally able to use marijuana for recreational purposes. However, much like other legalities, this permission is not so cut and dry.

Photo by Rick Proctor on Unsplash

At the start of 2017, just as the state said it was legal for a 21-year-old adult to purchase, possess and consume cannabis products for recreational purposes, some cities passed ordinances preventing such activities.

The Fullerton city council, for instance, voted to ban any marijuana-related activities including using, cultivating and dispensing the drug for medical and recreational use.

“The City’s Code Enforcement Department and Police Department are responsible for enforcing this prohibition,” Matt Foulkes, Fullerton’s planning manager, wrote in an email. “We actively bring code enforcement action against any illegally operating dispensaries or other marijuana-related businesses in the City.”

California’s Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) still protects certain rights of legal aged adults. However, according to a November 2017 city council report, groups such as the League of Cities, State Bureau of Cannabis Control and City Attorney’s Office suggest that cities who want to ban marijuana use amend their city codes to do so.

Essentially, it is illegal to use city land for any cannabis use not protected by the state for personal medicinal purposes.

“Aside from enforcement with our public safety… our code enforcement officers [regularly] monitor for code violations as it pertains to zone permitted use,” said Stephen Hale, Fullerton’s public information coordinator. “In other words, all dispensaries are not… illegal for being a marijuana dispensary, but rather for not having the proper zoning permit.”