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State Appeals Court Rules Cities Can't Ban Pot Shops

A panel of judges rules that Los Angeles County's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries is 'preempted' by state law.

A state appeals court affirmed the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries under California law and rejected bans imposed by municipalities.

A three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal held Monday that Los Angeles County's ban on medical marijuana is "preempted" by state law. The decision reverses a preliminary injunction granted to the county by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann Jones in May 2011.   

The Beverly Hills City Council took legislative action to ban dispensaries in July 2010, enacting a that members six months later.

"Staff believes that the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in Beverly Hills has the potential to change the character of Beverly Hills," Director of Community Development Susan H. Keene told the council in July 2010. "Our general planned policy … states that the city should encourage the existing industries in the city such as luxury retail, hotels, tourism, and entertainment and media uses. Medical marijuana dispensaries, since it is not one of the existing industries, does not encourage or support that [plan]."

On July 24, the Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to vote on a dispensary ban similar to the one enacted by the county that was just rejected by the appeals court.

"The [appellate court] decision puts a giant wrench into the plans of City Attorney Trutanich to persuade the city council to enact a ban," Joe Elford, chief counsel of the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said in a statement.

"Los Angeles County's total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the legislature's intent," Justice Robert Mallano wrote in the 19-page unanimous decision.

The county sued the Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective in March 2011.

"The court of appeal could not have been clearer in expressing that medical marijuana dispensaries are legal under state law, and that municipalities have no right to ban them," Elford said. "This landmark decision should have a considerable impact on how the California Supreme Court rules in the various dispensary cases it's currently reviewing." 

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Malcolm Kyle July 07, 2012 at 08:51 AM
Every single parasitic Prohibitionist is a willing servant of tyranny and hate, having but one sole purpose - to make the rest of us suffer their putrid legacy of incalculable waste and destruction. Hand in hand with a Corporate controlled, propaganda-spewing mass-media machine, they continually connive to ensure that the inevitable consequences of their 'not fit for purpose' policy (the vast increase in corruption, mayhem, economic and moral decay) are all attributed to the prohibited substances themselves rather than the actual obvious and historically proven cause: the very prohibition of these substances. Prohibition is not simply just a 'War on Reason' it is a dire threat to the very fabric of our nation, a slow but relentless degradation (death by a zillion cuts) of all our cherished national institutions, inclusive the nightmare of new and far more deadlier substitute-concoctions (bathtub-meth, crack-cocaine, crocodile-heroin-ersatz, and synthetic marijuana) that will leave us crippled for numerous generations.
BackwardsThinker July 08, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Every city should treat registered medical marijuana dispensaries the same they do with the handicapped. You must create access for the sick. It would be a noble cause as well, seeing how many Beverly Hills types gobble up toxic pills their doctors recommend. Dispensaries will soon be known as drug treatment centers, for they reduce the number of toxic drug addicts and allow them to cope successfully.

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