Back to top

CA Supreme Court to Soon Decide Fate of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Sam Sabzehzar 2013-01-11 0 comments

California Supreme Court picks February 5th for oral arguments to decide whether municipalities can ban local distribution of medical marijuana

By Kris Hermes  |  Published in Americans for Safe Access

Oral arguments in the Riverside case will be held in a special session of the California Supreme Court, February 5th at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

The California Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments this week in a case that has received widespread attention inside and outside of the medical marijuana community.

The appellate court ruling in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center is being reviewed by the High Court in order to address the issue of whether municipalities can use zoning regulations to ban outright the local distribution of medical marijuana.

Oral arguments in the Riverside case will be held in a special session of the California Supreme Court on Tuesday, February 5th at 10:15am at the University of San Francisco (USF) School of Law.

In addition to the Riverside case, a number of other appellate court rulings from southern California focusing on the same issues were granted review by the Court, including County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective, 420 Caregivers v. City of Los Angeles, City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen Holistic Collective, and People v. G3 Holistic.

Notably, two of these appellate rulings held that local officials may not ban distribution and must develop regulations instead.

Specifically, the County of Los Angeles decision from July 2012 overturned a local ban on dispensaries, reversing the lower court’s preliminary injunction from the previous year.

The appellate court in¬†County of Los Angeles¬†held that ‚Äúmedical marijuana collectives‚Ķare permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function,‚ÄĚ and that ‚Äú[Los Angeles] County‚Äôs total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature‚Äôs intent.‚ÄĚ The Court further concluded that, a ‚Äúcomplete ban‚ÄĚ on medical marijuana is ‚Äúpreempted‚ÄĚ by state law and, therefore, void.

Yet, other appellate court decisions have sided with municipal governments in their cynical effort to push out any form of safe and legal access to medical marijuana.

Rest assured, however, that Americans for Safe Access will work with the lawyers in the Riverside case to obtain a ruling from the California Supreme Court favorable to patients across the state.

Just as with its¬†amicus ‚Äėfriend of the court‚Äô brief¬†filed last year in the¬†Riverside¬†case, ASA will continue to fight for safe access. ‚ÄúWhile municipalities may pass reasonable regulations over the location and operation of medical marijuana collectives, they cannot ban them absolutely,‚ÄĚ read ASA‚Äôs amicus brief. ‚ÄúThese bans thwart the Legislature‚Äôs stated objectives of ensuring access to marijuana for the seriously ill persons who need it in a uniform manner throughout the state.‚ÄĚ