Traffic Roots Pixel
 

California Court of Appeal affirms legality of dispensaries

Posted on July 3rd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

The Second District Court of Appeal in California issued a landmark decision July 2 in County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective (AMCC), affirming the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries under state law, rejecting bans imposed by municipalities. In particular, the court held that Los Angeles County's "complete ban" on medical marijuana is "preempted" by state law and therefore void. The AMCC decision reverses a preliminary injunction granted to the county by the Los Angeles Superior Court in May 2011.

On the issue of whether dispensaries are legal under state law, the court ruled: "[T]he repeated use of the term 'dispensary' throughout [Health and Safety Code section 11362.768] and the reference in subdivision (e) to a 'storefront or mobile retail outlet' make it abundantly clear that the medical marijuana collectives authorized by section 11362.775 are permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function." The ruling further held: "[Los Angeles] County's total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature's intent." It called that contradiction "direct, patent, obvious, and palpable."

This landmark decision comes as a number of other state appellate court rulings impacting dispensaries have been granted review by the California Supreme Court, including Pack v. City of Long Beach, which addresses how localities can regulate distribution, and City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness, which deals with whether municipalities can permanently ban distribution. The California Supreme Court could also decide to review the AMCC ruling.

"The court of appeal could not have been clearer in expressing that medical marijuana dispensaries are legal under state law, and that municipalities have no right to ban them," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group. "This landmark decision should have a considerable impact on how the California Supreme Court rules in the various dispensary cases it's currently reviewing."

On July 24, the City of Los Angeles is scheduled to vote on a dispensary ban similar to the one enacted by the County. "The AMCC decision puts a giant wrench into the plans of City Attorney [Carmen "Nuch"] Trutanich to persuade the City Council to enact a ban," said Elford. The proposal introduced by council member José Luis Huizar to ban dispensaries now faces an uncertain fate. Patient advocates have been pushing for an being proposed by Council members Paul Koretz and Herb J. Wesson Jr that would create "limited immunity" for a certain number of dispensaries in the city. (ASA, July 3)

Photo by the Mad Pothead 

 

Who's new

  • Baba Israel
  • Karr Young
  • John Veit
  • YosephLeib
  • Peter Gorman