California Marijuana Lawyers: Supreme Court Ruling Shouldn’t Affect L.A. Dispensaries

As pro-marijuana advocates have continued to absorb the disappointing decision handed down recently by the California Supreme Court, affirming the right of local government to ban dispensaries, our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers want to share this silver lining: The decision shouldn’t have an immediate or adverse affect medical marijuana distribution centers in L.A.
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Here in Los Angeles, the city council had originally attempted to pass legislation that would all but ban dispensaries in the city limits. However, that ban was later repealed amid fierce opposition as well as a credible threat to have the measure reversed with a ballot initiative.

That initiative was scrapped and followed by three competing proposals for medical marijuana regulation within the city. those measures – Proposition D, Proposition E and Proposition F are slated for a vote later this month on May 21.

Early proponents of Proposition E have abandoned their efforts in favor of the city-backed Proposition D. Both of those measures would result in slashing the number of the city’s dispensaries from roughly 800 down to about 135.

Proposition F would allow for substantially more dispensaries, provided they abide by a strict criteria. That criteria includes adherence to local land use ordinances and limits on proximity to schools, playgrounds, parks and religious centers.

Even if the earlier proposed ban had been passed after the state supreme court’s ruling, pro-marijuana advocates in Los Angeles could have taken the same measures to circumvent it.

However, proponents of Proposition F say that Proposition D, the more restrictive measure, is the first step in ensuring the permanent shut-down of dispensaries in Los Angeles. They say the passage of this measure will make it easier for federal authorities to target and shutter any existing facilities. Now, with the state Supreme Court decision, they say it could mean the eventual elimination of safe access to medical marijuana in Los Angeles.

In response to the court ruling, the mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, wrote to Gov. Jerry Brown and members of the state Legislature, requesting the implementation of common sense medical marijuana guidelines that would serve to provide uniform clarity to local governments and reflect the overwhelming will of the people in California to provide safe access for compassionate use.

There is growing concern that the state Supreme Court decision will ultimately push legitimate marijuana patients into obtaining the drug through illicit means. That would mean three steps back from where we had progressed on this issue. It would make the sale process riskier for patients, less profitable for local governments, better for illegal dealers and an increase of danger in neighborhoods.

If there is any effect that the ruling will have directly on the city in the short-term, it is simply that it raises the stakes of this ballot measure. One of these three measures has to have the majority – 50 percent-plus-one – in order to pass. Otherwise, none of them do and it’s back to the drawing board. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision and the city’s history on this issue, that is a concerning prospect.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Marijuana Ruling Not Expected To Impact LA Pot Shops, May 7, 2013, By Rick Orlov, Los Angeles Daily News
More Blog Entries:
California Supreme Court Affirms Right to Ban Marijuana Dispensaries, May 7, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog