Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Thrown Out in California Supreme Court
Last Week the California Supreme Court dismissed review of an important appellate court ruling, and this will have implications for medical marijuana patients throughout the state.
The CA Supreme Court threw out the controversial decision in Pack v. City of Long Beach, which had said that federal law preempted some forms of dispensary regulations. The Pack decision has been used by several municipalities, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, to suspend or ban outright the distribution of medical marijuana. But now the dismissal of Pack removes the legal precedent used in many bans.
"This is an important moment for medical marijuana patients in California," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy organization. "The California Supreme Court has essentially pulled out the rug from under local officials who have used the Pack decision to deny access to medical marijuana for thousands of patients across the state," continued Elford. "Pack is now a dead letter and, because of the California Rules of Court (Rule 8.528), it is disingenuous for any public official to contend that the Court of Appeal decision is somehow reinstated."
The reason for the dismissal of the case was that after the California Supreme Court decided to review the appellate decision, the Long Beach City Council repealed and replaced the ordinance with an outright ban on dispensaries thereby making moot the issues before the court. In addition, the petitioners in Pack "have now abandoned their federal preemption argument in favor of unrelated issues not raised or decided at any prior stage of this proceeding," according to the court.
The recent ban on dispensaries in Los Angeles is predicated on the Pack case, meaning the city council has little legal cover left for their awful decision.
AZ Attorney General Seeks Summary Judgment in Medical Marijuana Lawsuit
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne have each filed separate motions for summary judgment in Superior Court on a lawsuit filed by White Mountain Health Center against Maricopa County and the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) on the issue of federal preemption of the state’s medical marijuana law.
“It is the County’s position that the AMMA is in direct violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act and therefore cannot be implemented without exposing County employees to the risk of federal prosecution,” Montgomery said. “The AMMA also runs afoul of the Supremacy Clause enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by our Founding Fathers, which preempts state law that conflicts with federal law,” he added.
Attorney General Tom Horne said, “I was recently asked by 13 out of the 15 County Attorneys in Arizona to issue an Opinion on whether the AMMA is pre-empted by federal law. The two most recent cases, from California and Oregon, clearly hold that states may not authorize what federal law prohibits. These rulings stem from Article Six of the U.S. Constitution, which, in case of conflict gives supremacy to federal law. Therefore, state authorization for growing or selling marijuana is prohibited under federal law and we are therefore asking the court to dismiss the Plaintiff’s complaint.”
If officials in every medical marijuana state felt the way some of those in Arizona do, legal protections for medical cannabis patients would likely not exist anywhere.
While we are quoting the Constitution, let me direct you to the words of the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Where does the federal government get the power to make a plant illegal?
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