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case was that after the California Supreme Court decided to review the appellate decision, the Long Beach City Council repealed and replaced the ordinance with an outright ban on dispensaries thereby making moot the issues before the court.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.
DEA Targets 23 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Washington State
On Thursday the DEA sent letters to 23 medical marijuana businesses in Western Washington, warning they could be prosecuted and the properties seized if they are operating within a school zone.
“Please take the necessary steps to discontinue the sale and/or distribution of marijuana…within 30 days,” read the letter, signed by Matthew G. Barnes, special agent in charge for the Seattle field office.
“I am confident that once notified of the ramifications and penalties associated with renting a property for marijuana distribution purposes, property owners will take appropriate steps to rectify the situation on their own. The DEA will not turn a blind eye to criminal organizations that attempt to use state or local law as a shield for their illicit drug trafficking activities,” Barnes said in a statement.
The letters follow the same pattern of letters to hundreds of dispensaries in Colorado and all over the west coast.
“We need to enforce one message for our students: drugs have no place in or near our schools,” the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, Jenny Durkan, said in a statement.
Why aren’t officials worried about the message that hiding medical marijuana sends to kids? It tells them that cannabis is bad, so when they need medical help, they will turn to dangerous and addictive prescription drugs.
To be fair, dispensaries are not legal under Washington state law, but that still does not make it a matter for the DEA. They are using federal law to butt into state business.
An attempt was made to legalize and regulate them and a bill passed the state Legislature last year, but it was vetoed by Gov. Chris Gregorie. The Governor’s veto left intact a law that allows 15 patients to band together to form a 45-plant “collective garden.” Some medical marijuana storefronts have used a broad interpretation of that provision to form networks of collective gardens, with patients signing into an open slot in a garden.
Marijuana Dispensaries See Hope in California Supreme Court Move
The Stupidity of L.A.s Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban
In this video The Young Turks discuss the recent medical cannabis dispensary ban in the city of Los Angeles and how…well, stupid it is. They also tie the city council’s decision into the larger drug war as a whole, and how depressing it is to see what seems like regression on an issue we thought we had won.
But patients and advocates will continue to fight. In fact, on Friday a medical marijuana trade group and 11 patients sued the city of Los Angeles, looking to block enforcement of an ordinance that would shut down most of the city's storefront pot dispensaries in three weeks.
The lawsuit, which says users are protected by California's 1996 legalization of medical marijuana and the U.S. Constitution, seeks an immediate injunction to keep Los Angeles officials from closing down dispensaries beginning on Sept. 6.
Meanwhile, advocates are canvassing the city gathering signatures to get a repeal of the ban on the ballot. A lot of energy that should be directed at helping patients now has to be spent defending the very right of people to have a choice in what medicine they take.
Los Angeles Dispensary Owners Fight Ban
Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Face Sept. 6th Deadline to Close
By some accounts there are over 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles, and they have all been sent letters telling them they have until September 6th to close their doors or face legal action.
Instead of going through the “trouble” of regulating dispensaries in L.A., the city council has decided to take the easiest and most economically destructive path of approving a full ban. For example, if each dispensary in Los Angeles has an average of 3 employees, that’s about 3,000 jobs the city council feels are just not needed.
The council's vote allows primary caregivers and patients to grow and transport marijuana. Under the new ordinance, two or three patients are allowed to collectively grow and share marijuana in homes or apartments, but not storefronts. Those who have medical marijuana cards will still be able to grow and smoke marijuana, but they won't be able to go into a dispensary and buy it.
Meaning those who are not able to grow or don’t have someone who can grow for them must either do without or resort to the black market for their medication.
So the council doesn’t do their job, destroys thousands of real jobs and denies health care to tens of thousands of people. Is this what the citizens of Los Angeles voted for? How hard can it possibly be to set up some regulations governing dispensaries?
In fact, isn’t that one of the functions of city government, to regulate local businesses? What recourse do voters have when their government stops doing its job, other than to vote everyone out and try different people?
It is the height of lunacy to destroy jobs in a struggling economy. Every action by the council should be directed toward things like job growth and better quality healthcare.
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