Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley ruled Wednesday that medical marijuana dispensaries must be allowed statewide and individual municipalities cannot legally block them.

The ruling (PDF) was issued by Coakley's Municipal Law Unit in response to a 2012 bylaw passed by officials in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Two other nearby towns also passed a similar ordinance.

The logic behind the ruling is simple: It says that the legalization of medical marijuana, enshrined in state law, "cannot be served if a municipality were to prohibit treatment centers within its borders, for if one municipality were allowed to do so, all could do so, making reasonable access impossible."

Wakefield officials argued that they had the right to ban medial marijuana sales because marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substances prohibited under federal law. However, Coakley wrote that because no court has ruled against Massachusetts' medical marijuana law, it's not in her purview to "determine that issue."

In striking down the general bans, Coakley also wrote that towns may still adopt zoning rules that limit where dispensaries can set up shop in order to preserve "public health, safety, morals, or general welfare."

This video is from, published Thursday, March 14, 2013.