HMJ’s founder and guiding spirit, Lenny, is on his way to sunny California in the near future. California, this the the only warning you will receive. You can follow Lenny’s adventure in his blog each day. I thought it would be a good idea to give him a quick legal update about what’s going on in his new home.
” The City of L.A.’s plan was to limit the number of dispensaries that could be allowed to operate and put heavy restrictions on their location, barring them from opening near schools, parks, libraries, etc. The courts responded to these assorted municipal ordinances with a series of confusing and sometimes contradictory rulings, but the one most devastating to City Hall was Pack vs. Superior Court, decided by the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeals in October 2011.
The case actually targeted the city of Long Beach, which had enacted a marijuana ordinance almost identical to L.A.’s — and which, the court determined, was illegal. The gist of Pack was that, because marijuana is banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act, cities can’t enact laws that permit or authorize pot dispensaries, only that restrict their activities. Further, Pack forbids cities from putting a cap on the number of dispensaries or determining which ones are permitted via lottery, a fundamental part of what Los Angeles wanted to do.
Early this month, the 2nd District Court of Appeal — the same court that decided Pack — overturned Los Angeles County’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. Banning these retail outlets “directly contradicts the Legislature’s intent,” wrote Justice Robert Mallano for the court, in a unanimous decision by the three-justice panel. That’s because when the Legislature enacted the Medical Marijuana Program Act starting in 2004, it authorized places where medical marijuana could be distributed and shielded them from municipal ordinances that target public nuisances. In its original wording, this act didn’t include the word “dispensaries,” but, according to Mallano, wording in a section added later specifically protected any “medical marijuana cooperative, collective, dispensary, operator, establishment or provider.”
The law on all of this remains unsettled, and key cases will probably soon find their way to the California Supreme Court. Yet it would be more than a little odd for the city of L.A. to approve its ban on dispensaries just weeks after an appeals court ruled that it was illegal for the county of L.A. to do the exact same thing. More lawsuits? You bet.
See Lenny, things are happening on the west coast. If there are lawsuits over cannabis, how can we say cannabis is not legal? Original source material is here.
[image: Google images California]
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