Court Rules L.A. Marijuana Dispensary Ban Violates State Law

In a landmark ruling that rejects bans being placed on medical marijuana dispensaries by municipalities, California’s Second District Court of Appeals re-affirmed the legality of dispensaries.

In County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective (AMCC), the court ruled a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries by Los Angeles County is void because it runs afoul of state law. Voters passed a measure legalizing medical marijuana 16 years ago. 429469_canabis_indica.jpg

Marijuana dispensary attorneys in Los Angeles applaud the ruling. It comes as the City of Los Angeles and other municipalities have considered bans. Many of the bans are under consideration because a separate court ruling found municipalities don’t have the right to license and regulate businesses that dispense medical marijuana because marijuana is illegal under federal law. Thus cities should not be in the business of licensing or regulating an illegal activity.

The court ruled California law makes it “abundantly clear that the medical marijuana collectives … are permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function.” By creating a total per-se nuisance ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, the county contradicts the intent of state law.

A number of appellate rulings impacting dispensaries have been granted review by the California Supreme Court. City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness is another case dealing with whether cities can ban medical marijuana dispensaries. In that case, the court allowed a ban on dispensaries. That case is also before the state’s high court for review. In a case before the 4th District Court of Appeals, the court found municipalities could not ban marijuana dispensaries as a nuisance. But in an odd twist, that court ruled the marijuana the dispensaries did distribute must be grown on site.

On July 24, the City of Los Angeles had been set to vote on whether to implement a ban patterned after the county’s. Patient advocates and others have been pushing the city to adopt “limited immunity” for some existing dispensaries, a move that would more closely follow the initial plan to regulate the industry.

How many millions have been spent in the 16 years since California voters legalized medical marijuana through Proposition 215? And voters in the state last year came very close to legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Section 11362.5 of the California Health and Safety Code, says “that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician. The law goes on to encourage “the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”

Instead they continue to resist simply implementing the law passed by the people. Are there people abusing the law? Of course. Are there people abusing marijuana and other drugs? Of course. Are there people abusing all sorts of other prescription medication? You betcha.

Still, too many are trying to turn back time. Medical marijuana is safe. It’s legal. And it’s highly beneficial to the patients who use it. Those in opposition who hold positions of power need to get back to carrying out the will of the people.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California — including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.