The Press-Enterprise is reporting that the California Supreme Court will review a case out of Riverside after an appeals court ruled that cities and counties have the right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.
This is huge news because if justices rule that cities and counties don’t have the right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Riverside and elsewhere, there could be fewer restrictions in place for medical marijuana dispensaries to start up.
Our Riverside medical marijuana lawyers have been following this issue as we represent many medical marijuana dispensary owners throughout California. We are dedicated to reporting the latest news on our Marijuana Lawyer Blog as soon as it comes out.
There have been court cases throughout California challenging medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as city and county bans and ordinances that create systems for where and how these small businesses can operate. It has been a mess because a 2003 law put in place in Sacramento allowed cities and counties to determine their own way to regulate these businesses.
So, instead of creating a formalized rule, lawmakers in each individual city or county are left to make their own rules. As a result, many of these local rules have been challenged in court and they are still in court today.
A November ruling by the Fourth District Court of Appeal has led many local leaders to shut down medical marijuana clinics, including throughout Riverside. That court ruled that neither the 1996 vote or the state’s medical marijuana program strip cities from the power of banning the facilities.
Along with a Riverside case, the Supreme Court will look at a Long Beach case that looks at the illegality of marijuana under federal law and whether that preempts local leadership from regulating these businesses. A Dana Point case looks into who should be able to decide when disputes arise between dispensaries and local ordinances that regulate them. Upland’s ban is similar to Riverside’s.
At its core, the issue come down to whether local governments can ignore state law and whether state law trumps local government authority. However, all of these cases will have a major impact on medical marijuana dispensaries in Riverside and throughout the state.
There are no conflicting appellate court rulings, so the fact that the state’s high court has decided to take up these cases show that they are dedicated to clarifying this highly controversial law that has been so disruptive. Without a clear ruling from the top, there will continue to be challenges in local courts for years.
Most medical marijuana dispensary businesses simply want to follow the law. They are small business owners and don’t mind regulation as long as they are able to work. But for cities to start banning new dispensaries or trying to shut down others based on a court case is just wrong.
Medical marijuana businesses want to follow the laws and they want the rogue dispensaries and illegal drug trade stopped. Federal government interference has muddied the issue and struck fear in the hearts of local leaders, who have panicked and tried to ban these legitimate businesses without understanding their importance to the community in terms of providing a medicine and tax help.
Our Riverside medical marijuana lawyers will be following these cases closely and will bring any new information as it becomes available. We are dedicated to providing legal representation to those involved in the medical marijuana industry.
The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles, throughout Orange County and elsewhere throughout Southern California. Call 949-375-4734 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
More Blog Entries:
Riverside County Dispensaries, Others Come Under Fire For Medical Marijuana: January 14, 2012
Riverside: California Supreme Court to review city’s pot dispensary ban, by Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise