California Cities Cannot Ban Marijuana Dispensaries, Appeals Court Rules

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In a somewhat strange and unexpected ruling issued yesterday, the California Court of Appeals ruled that California cities cannot ban medical marijuana dispensaries so long as they cultivate cannabis at the same location. The 48-page ruling came in the case of the City of Lake Forest vs. Evergreen Holistic Collective, one of several collectives the city shut down for violating its ban on pot clubs. Because state law allows for marijuana collectives to cultivate and distribute cannabis to members, the court stated, "a local government cannot ban as a nuisance exactly [original emphasis] what the Legislature contemplated would occur at cooperative and collective medical marijuana cultivation sites."

One of the lawyers attached to the case is Matthew Pappas, whose separate lawsuit against the city of Long Beach resulted in a ruling last year that struck down large portions of the city's controversial ordinance requiring collectives to apply for expensive permits that also required them to grow onsite, and which many observers, including the city itself, has interpreted to mean that California cities cannot regulate marijuana clubs at all.

In a letter to Kendra Carney, a deputy city attorney for Long Beach, that he provided to the Weekly, Pappas argued that the Lake Forest ruling further strikes down Long Beach's ordinance--city code 5.89--which it has used to prosecute all but a select group of 18 dispensaries that not won the city's lottery and came up with tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional fees and construction costs to comply with the city's permitting process. (None of those 18 clubs have received operating permits so far).

Pappas urged Carney to immediately halt all actions against marijuana clubs in the city.  
"The poor behavior by the City in regard to the patients is not sustainable," he wrote. "5.89 is now going to be stricken. It is totally inappropriate to continue the attacks on the patients."

You'd think medical marijuana advocates would be jumping for joy at the news that cities can't ban dispensaries that are following state law. But in a statement issued in response to the ruling, Dale Gieringer of the California chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, or CANORML, argued that it's just the latest schizophrenic court decision that points to the desperate need for legalization. Specifically, Gieringer highlighted the fact that the ruling seems to require the impossible by forcing (presumably at the risk of prosecution) that clubs cultivate marijuana at the same address where they dispense it.

"In practice, of course, hardly any dispensaries cultivate on site due to the obvious security concerns," Gieringer argued. "Nonetheless, the court concluded that [state law] authorizes only 'grow-site dispensaries.' It will be interesting to see how this plays out. This not unfavorable yet cockamamie ruling cries out for a legislative fix."

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96 comments
nazmunnaher
nazmunnaher

We have recently begun to accept new members for 2011-2012 and walk-ins are always welcome. We have lowered our pricing and now offer a 10% discount for Veterans & Students (with valid ID) and HIV & Cancer patients.  (All our TOP SHELF 1/8’s are capped at $40).  Since opening our doors in 2009 our Denver dispensary has stood by our product and offered a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. http://www.tgtree.com/

KW
KW

This is the question I ask everyone, if you wife or child was in so much pain, would you then oppose medical pot. No you wouldnt I suffered for 6 years in chronic pain and I couldn't use pot because I have a government job but I would have it if I ould. On a few occasion I was close to killing myself from the pain. So instead I took tons of norco which are very bad for you. Stop saying that people will abuse pot, people abuse booze, oxy, zanex everyday but for some reason pot is judged differently. 

Think of the all the tax money that is made by the community , if the local community does't get the money the mexican cartels would. True medical grade pot isn't grown in some illegal grown but under strict control. If we cans strip money away from the cartels and return that money to the local tax base we are doing a service. 

Like it or not the money and the drugs are going to be there it just becomes who will benefit from it. I don't advocate a wide spread legalization but for medical needs that is necessary. 

In my time of chronic pain I would have much rather eater or vaporized some pot instead of eating one norco after another. 

Think beyond your own morals and fears and think of the needs of others. I once highly opposed it now I believe that it could be the relief for many chronis suffers. And yes it will get abused just like alcohol, pills or the speed limit. We need to do the most good for the most people.

NG Coot
NG Coot

".. if you wife or child was in so much pain, would you then oppose medical pot."

I don't oppose medical pot.  I think that it should be more strictly regulated so that those who truly need the benefit can get it and those who sell it will know how they stand with Federal, state and local laws, regulations, ordinances and codes.  The medical pot "regulations" we have now are a joke.

Sdiaz100
Sdiaz100

All I have to say is that  I prefer to see people smoke pot rather then drink.  You don''t see guys going to jail for beating their wives after getting high, but you do see it all the time guys getting drunk and beating their wives.  Seriously who would you prefer to be around, someone drunk and stupid or someone high. If you have been around both before then I know everyone would pick someone high and if you say different then you are full of sh_ _!

Daveholio
Daveholio

I have no doubt it won't be long until they get some corrupt Federal Judge to overturn this decision, citing Federal supremacy (and who cares if that is Unconstitutional or not)!

Daveholio
Daveholio

It seems dispensaries can satisfy this requirement by growing as little as a single plant onsite, which none of them are incapable of.

Mrmtvman
Mrmtvman

I think the only way around it now is to be a delivery only service. The next thing you know , they will say it can only be located across the street from a highschool.

Rehab
Rehab

Making it legal is not the issue here, it's how strict they're going to implement the law.

NG Coot
NG Coot

The really funny thing is - now that Med Maryjane is legal - full legalization will probably never happen.

Daveholio
Daveholio

 That is wishful thinking Coot.  Prohibition ultimately depends on it remaining a Schedule I substance, which can only be maintained by not allowing research on it.  While the FDA and NIDA can accomplish this effectively by continuing to disallow all research, the problem with that is the FDA's influence is much less beyond our borders.  Our Government has a much more difficult time trying to prevent research on cannabis by other countries!  There is only so long they can keep their fingers in their ears saying 'lalalala I can't hear you', as research demonstrating real medical use continues to accumulate OUTSIDE the USA.

big al
big al

man i love this country

Tim R. Barnes
Tim R. Barnes

Logic is over ruled when,one of the powers that be, profit line, is involved! pot illegal has nothing to do with its health risks,dupont,alcohol,monsanto,oil,paper,pharmicutical industries,profit would suffer,more important WE THE AMERICANS could make the money,instead of the cia,dea,mexico,afgannies!

NG Coot
NG Coot

Tim - I think you are high now.

Fedupwithstupid
Fedupwithstupid

Could you please drink yourself into a coma and raise you IQ to the same level of a rock?

Nbradley1981
Nbradley1981

Do you know why cannabis was made illegal cooter? From your words here you are obvious naive and speak uneducated thoughts. You should look into it!

Daveholio
Daveholio

 Why do you keep incorrectly referring to cannabis as a poison?  It is not a poison like alcohol is.  Sorry to break this to you, but cannabis is nontoxic (to the point where there is no conceivable amount of consumption of it that can kill you).

NG Coot
NG Coot

dustergirl - I know that you want to make this about ME and avoid the the facts of the article.  Any idiot can see that this information came from a source - you are not just any type of idiot - you are the special type of idiot that intentionally ignores the facts. Here is the source you want - it doesn't change the facts that you don't like and want to ignore:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

dustergirl
dustergirl

 I hope you cited your source!!! Cause if not that is plagiarism, and just further proves how uneducated you are! Anyone can copy and paste some article that they read but it takes a really educated person to write their own response...which sadly you are not!

NG Coot
NG Coot

The legal history of cannabis in the United States relates to the regulation of marijuana use for medical or recreational purposes in the United States. Regulations and restrictions on the sale of Cannabis sativa as a drug began as early as 1860. Increased restrictions and labeling of cannabis as a poison began in many states from 1906 onward, and outright prohibitions began in the 1920s.Around 1910 there was a wave of legislation aimed to strengthen requirements for their sale and remove what were commonly referred to as "loopholes" in poison laws. The new revisions aimed to restrict all narcotics, including cannabis, as poisons, limit their sale to pharmacies, and require doctor's prescriptions. The first instance was in the District of Columbia in 1906, under 'An act to regulate the practice of pharmacy and the sale of poisons in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes'.[11] The Pure Food and Drug Act was then passed by the United States Congress in 1906 and required, nationwide, that all sales of non-prescription sale of cannabis be properly labeled.Further regulation of cannabis followed in Massachusetts (1911), New York (1914), and Maine (1914). In New York, reform legislation began under the Towns-Boylan Act, which targeted all "habit-forming drugs", restricted their sale, prohibited refills in order to prevent habituation, prohibited sale to people with a habit, and prohibited doctors who were themselves habituated from selling them.[12] Shortly after, several amendments were passed by the New York Board of Health, including adding cannabis to the list of habit-forming drugs.[13]A New York Times article noted on the cannabis amendment:The inclusion of Cannabis indica among the drugs to be sold only on prescription is common sense. Devotees of hashish are now hardly numerous here enough to count, but they are likely to increase as other narcotics become harder to obtain.[14]In the West, the first state to include cannabis as a poison was California. The Poison Act was passed in 1907 and amended in 1909 and 1911, and in 1913 an amendatory act (Stats. 1913, Ch. 342) was made to make possession of "extracts, tinctures, or other narcotic preparations of hemp, or loco-weed, their preparations and compounds" a misdemeanor. There's no evidence that the law was ever used or intended to restrict pharmaceutical cannabis; instead it was a legislative mistake, and in 1915 another revision placed cannabis under the same restriction as other poisons.[3]Other states followed with marijuana laws including: Wyoming (1915); Texas (1919); Iowa (1923); Nevada (1923); Oregon (1923); Washington (1923); Arkansas (1923); and Nebraska (1927).

James Parker
James Parker

This is an easy one.  The dispensary has a few small plants growing in the back, and done-- you're legal! It doesnt say everything sold has to be grown on-site.  It just says you have to grow on site.  

NG Coot
NG Coot

Seriously ... what are the problems with the LA City MMD regs from the tokers point of view?

Daveholio
Daveholio

The new regs do not provide any benefits to the community, yet cause measurable harms (like job losses and increased traffic and congestion).  All they accomplish is reducing the number of stores, without a single good reason for doing so (apparently other than making old coots feel better).  Please explain how having two dispensaries on a block is any worse than having just one?

Fewer dispensaries just make it harder for your grandma to find the specific strain that treats her MS most effectively.

Nbradley1981
Nbradley1981

In order for a dispensary to grow on site they would need a very large grow operation. The collective I work at sees 300+ patients daily, we would need more than the federal limit of 99 plants to meet the needs of our patients. So cities would be forcing us to break federal law, where the mandatory minimum sentence is 10 years in prison. Doesn't seem right...

NG Coot
NG Coot

real bummer dude ........

Vjess
Vjess

Hey seriously coot .. the liquor store is open.. duty calls. Get off the computer.

Sanfrankreechur
Sanfrankreechur

all i can say is i am no jehovahs witness. i claim no moral authority. personally i smoke weed because i like to smoke weed. if that makes me a loser in someone elses eyes , well im a happy loser. 

Healing of the Nation
Healing of the Nation

Does this mean coastal cities like Laguna Beach & Huntington Beach can have dispensaries as long as they grow on site? It is comfusing how each city has their own politics about it. Legalize soon...but for now this is good. Good for farmers. Good for the patients. Revenue for the state and the local economies. Plus better quality medicine. Save some gas money too! No more driving to Costa Mesa!

palmspringsbum
palmspringsbum

What makes you think NORML will do any better a job of legalizing 'recreational' marijuana than they've done with medical?

robertk
robertk

Vote for Ron Paul hes the only one willing to stop the DEA. He understands that the people  spoke in a vote to have medical marijuana. The federal government should have no say in this matter, this is a state issue.

leo
leo

CalNorml and Gieringer should as always shut the f.ck up.. They are a good for nothing sit on your ass organization. All while the poor collectives have been funding the fight all these years, and they jump on the press train to claim credit.

Nice job nick.. THANK GOD FOR THE JUSTICE SYSTEM and intelligent justices.

Robert Shannon, Kendra Carney and Erik sund. Have been leading this city and taxpayers down the road to hell and oblivion.

Give it up or face LEGAL ARMEGEDDON. YOU IDIOTS.

STOP THE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PATIENTS AND COLLECTIVES and abolish the discriminatory exemption of the 18 payola stores.

Theresa
Theresa

You should all know that you have appellate attorney Donna Bader, to thank for the win in Lake Forest. Norml had absolutely nothing to do with it, as usual.

Fedupwithstupid
Fedupwithstupid

Isn't it strange how the people at fault always blame someone else.

vungfoo
vungfoo

Finally, the Kangaroo court gets it right! Its about time. Now let the stupid cops know!Total-Privacy dot US

Rhollander5
Rhollander5

Finally we are getting some rulings in our favor. It's about time

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

But as seen in San Diego, those cities can call the DEA to shut down what they cannot achieve under state law.

NG Coot
NG Coot

oooohhhhh ..... too fuckin' bad for you stoners

Johnny Choronic59
Johnny Choronic59

Old coot my ass your just another drunk trieing to make your self feel better after tieing one on. I'm a cancer survivor, kemo survivor, and a vet that can survive people like you and your's. I'dmuch rather be with someone who has smoked a joint than someone that just drank a fifth of whiskey! I know what alcohol can do to the human body because I now deal with the pain every day. Hoover and Henery Ashlinger started cannabis proibition when they made alcohol legal so Ashlinger wouldn't be out of a job with the F.B.D . Your an ignorant person when it come's to politic's arn'tyou old coot? Your not an old coot , your not wise enough to be one. Take your self back to the bar's lounge lizard. Johnny Choronic59.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

I'd rather be a STONER than a mean-spirited HYPOCRITE like you. Have a nice day.

NG Coot
NG Coot

I am a meany!  ... just ask Gustavo.

How do you like the LA City MMD law?

NG Coot
NG Coot

I say that Santa Ana needs MMD regulation that makes sense - until the Feds come in to upset your apple cart.  The City of Los Angeles MMD regulations seem reasonable, what do you think?

http://ladbs.org/LADBSWeb/LADB...I especially like this part:No collective shall be located within a 1000-foot radius of a school, public park, publiclibrary, religious institution, licensed child care facility, youth center, substance abuserehabilitation center, or any other medical marijuana collective(s). The distances shallbe the horizontal distance measured in a straight line from property line to property linewithout regard to intervening structures. A collective that is also a licensed residentialmedical or eldercare facility is not subject to the 1000-foot separation. When acollective is also a medical or eldercare facility, the Certificate of Occupancy for theexisting facility must be included with the MMPI documentation.b. No collective shall be located on a lot abutting, across the street or alley from, or havinga common corner with a residentially zoned lot or a lot improved with a residential use,including a mixed use residential building. This provision shall not apply to a collectivethat is also a licensed residential medical or eldercare facility. When a collective is alsoa medical or eldercare facility, the Certificate of Occupancy for the existing facility mustbe included with the MMPI documentation;

johnny15150
johnny15150

in other words a de-facto ban.  and as the judges toss them out the taxpyer picks up the tab ,so the few wet brain individuals can  feel morally superior.

 

Theresa
Theresa

NG Coot,

You are obviously uninformed as to the medical, healing benefits of medical cannabis. We have something called the internet, maybe you've heard of it - it makes research quite simple. Try Googling medical cannabis and find out that there's CBN and CBN - good for many ailments and not just for "stoners".

Wake up, it's been keeping my husband alive since 2001. Please do a bit of homework and check out the website below:

www.steelescase.org

Please do some research with an open mind. Thank you.

Brandon Abell
Brandon Abell

 What's reasonable about it?  There's no danger to the community in a dried flower shop. 

assholeontap
assholeontap

My reply. If this applies to dispensaries and cannabis then it should apply to liquor stores, strip clubs and bars.

- someone can buy a six pack and sell it to minors, so ban the liquor stores near schools or parks.

- children can easily see the marketing around most clubs and a the only motorboat i want my 5 year old daughter to see is floating on the water

- some drunk fool can come out of a bar and run over a child crossing the street near the parks

Until that is applied to the other businesses that are cool by you, I think you should exercise some consideration that there is more than one person in your world.  But yes, I like these regulations. They should be for the places you frequent as well, Coot.

Calgarycmmc Cmmc
Calgarycmmc Cmmc

 You have a point, however closing down liquor stores or dispensaries is not going to solve the problem of underage consumption of any product legal or illegal. Prohibition simply does not work. In my opinion the child would only have a few more blocks to travel to acquire the drug.

 Simply because a store is placed near a school has absolutely no bearing on that individual seeking what ever that store were to sell. Perhaps products like tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, and even junk food for that matter, should be accompanied with education, clear labeling, and good parenting first and foremost.

NGCoot
NGCoot

@Calgarycmmc Cmmc Hell, just put the shops IN the schools then!

NG Coot
NG Coot

That is not going to happen any time soon - so I am fine with LA's MMD laws - I think that most would be fine with that as well.

Johnny Choronic59
Johnny Choronic59

People like you kill people like me. Either  with drunk driving or  from people like you being so ignorant about the real world of MMJ.Johnny Choronic59.

assholeontap
assholeontap

the exact response you'd expect. Continue, champion. Your life has great meaning, we can tell.

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