Laguna Niguel Imposes 1-Year Moratorium on New Medical Marijuana Clinics

Here's a question for Laguna Niguel's city fathers and mamas: Since you have just approved a moratorium preventing medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in town for another year, can you also give local patients 12 months off from insomnia, debilitating pain and lack of appetite—the symptoms that they have found cannabis relieves the best?

Unfortunately, those folks are going to have to wait until December for the answer. That's when the South County city's attorney plans to bring the pot-clinic matter before the City Council again.

Last July, the council voted on a year-long moratorium so that the issue could be further investigated. To their credit, city leaders did not indicate at the time that they wanted to establish an outright ban, they just wanted to figure out if and how zoning regulations would have to be changed to allow for such establishments.

However, during this year-long study sessions, things started changing in Orange County in a big way.

The legal landscape has changed, with dispensaries and the cities of Anaheim, Dana Point, Lake Forest and Costa Mesa embroiled in lawsuits over the right to operate, Laguna Niguel City Attorney Terry Dixon tells the Orange County Register.

Laguna Niguel is waiting to see how the courts decide "to a great extent" before figuring out how to proceed with pot clubs, according to Dixon, who reportedly added California's November vote on marijuana legalization "certainly could have an impact."

According to, Laguna Niguel has at least a couple dispensaries. City Manager Tim Casey has said at least one opened falsely after the July 1, 2009, one-year moratorium.


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