Compton school district sues city over marijuana dispensaries near schools

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ByAmy Powell via KABC logo
Saturday, April 4, 2015
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The City of Compton passed an ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries eight years ago, but illegal shops are still a problem, especially near schools.

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- The City of Compton passed an ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries eight years ago, but illegal shops are still a problem. Now, the Compton Unified School District has filed a lawsuit against the city over the dispensaries.

District officials said that at least a dozen dispensaries are currently operating in the city, and some of them are very close to schools.

"We're standing in the front of an illegal marijuana dispensary, which is less than 500 feet away from Davis Middle School. That is clearly unacceptable," said Micah Ali, president of the board of trustees of Compton Unified School District.

Ali said the dispensaries are in violation of local and state law, which prohibits medical marijuana facilities from operating within 600 feet of schools. Last week, the school district sent a letter to Compton officials demanding immediate enforcement of the dispensary ban.

"If we're going to be serious about the business of educating children, then we should be serious about the business of providing protection and safety. The city should move expeditiously to close down these illegal medical marijuana dispensaries," Ali said.

The letter threatened legal action within five days if the city did not respond. The district filed a lawsuit on Wednesday.

City Attorney Craig Cornwell said he is surprised that school officials filed a lawsuit. He said the city is investigating a number of suspected illegal marijuana dispensaries and is enforcing the law. But he said it is a difficult battle.

"We are very concerned about it, very concerned, and we are devoting resources to tackle this issue," he said. "There are various remedies, both criminal and civil. The issue is whether they come back and how to maintain the location shutdown, and that's been a challenge."