Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Thrown Out in California Supreme Court

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, August, 27th 2012 by THCFinder

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case was that after the California Supreme Court decided to review the appellate decision, the Long Beach City Council repealed and replaced the ordinance with an outright ban on dispensaries thereby making moot the issues before the court.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

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, August, 24th 2012 by THCFinder

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

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, August, 24th 2012 by THCFinder
The California Supreme Court this week threw out a court case that was part of the legal rationale for banning medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The court held that Pack v Long Beach is moot. So does that mean L.A.'s pot shop ban, which takes effect Sept. 6, is dead?
Not so fast. While medical advocates were happy about the decision, the L.A. City Attorney's office told the Weekly that the high court's move changes nothing:
Office spokesman Frank Mateljan argues that Pack's main ruling, that federal law outlawing marijuana in any form preempts city regulation, was neither endorsed nor struck down by the court, even though it said the Long Beach case is moot:
The Supreme Court did not opine on the legal issue presented in Pack. The Pack case was decided by our appellate court, the Second District Court of Appeal. Every California lawyer should anticipate that the Second District Court of Appeal will continue to prohibit cities from affirmatively regulating medical marijuana collectives, consistent with their federal preemption ruling in Pack.
West Valley Patients Group
He notes that the plaintiff in the case abandoned a challenge to the federal preemption in the case and that Long Beach went ahead with a ban that had nothing to do with the case.
Medical proponents, however, declared victory, arguing that the moot status of Pack should give L.A.'s ban proponents pause because, as Americans for Safe Access spokesman Kris Hermes told us, the basis of the ordinance has been "pulled out from under the city."
L.A. went forward with its ban after some on the City Council, including Jose Huizar, argued that it was fruitless to try to regulate pot shops if, as the lower court ruled in Pack, cities like Long Beach couldn't do so (in the way they were doing it) because marijuana is a federally outlaw drug.
Hermes said the ruling leaves open the possibility of yet another legal challenge to the city's ban:
They used Pack as a pretext to ban outright. But really Pack is not even on the table anymore.
However, Hermes seemed to invest more hope in a referendum headed for City Hall that would overturn L.A.'s ban. He said organizers, including ASA, could turn in enough signatures in two weeks.
That would force the city to put the matter before voters or overturn its own ban.


The Stupidity of L.A.s Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, August, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder

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

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, August, 17th 2012 by THCFinder
The Los Angeles City Council voted in July to ban prescription pot shops, but dispensary owners have decided to fight back, the L.A. Times reports.
As detailed by the Times, the City Attorney has threatened medical marijuana managers with "penalties of $2,500 a day and up to six months in jail" if they refuse to shut down by Sept. 6, sending them a warning letter this week.
Some potpreneurs, however, are working to get a measure on the ballot to overturn the ban, the paper reports.
Area medical marijuana backers have already started gathering signatures for such a referendum.
They need some 27,500 people to sign onto their proposal.
Right now, the prohibition bars L.A.'s some 1,000 storefront dispensaries.
However, the paper explains, patients and caregivers can still legally "grow and share marijuana in groups of three people or fewer."
Elsewhere in America's weed world....
Reports indicate that Arizona's medical marijuana database -- which contains info on program participants -- is being used frequently both by law enforcement and private employers.
Though "its primary use is to ensure that patients don't get arrested if caught with pot by police," Phoenix New Times' Ray Stern points out a problem associated with these kinds of things, writing: "We're just wondering how long before the state's database gets hacked."


Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Face Sept. 6th Deadline to Close

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, August, 16th 2012 by THCFinder

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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