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Cities Can't Ban Pot Shops, Appeals Court Rules

State law "preempts" bans of medical marijuana shops by municipalities, according to the unanimous appeals court decision.

Orange County cities fighting to keep out medical marijuana dispensaries may have a tougher time doing so after a Monday ruling affirming the legality of the shops under California law.

A three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that Los Angeles County's ban on medical marijuana is "preempted" by state law.

The decision by the state appeals court also rejected bans imposed by municipalities trying to excise the shops from their boundaries. A number of cities in Orange County, including Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Dana Point and Lake Forest, have taken to the courts to battle dispensaries operating in their cities.

The decision reverses a preliminary injunction granted to the county by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann Jones in May 2011. 

"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.

Principal Deputy County Counsel Sari Steel could not be immediately reached.

"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," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group. "This landmark decision should have a considerable impact on how the California Supreme Court rules in the various dispensary cases it's currently reviewing.'' 

On July 24, the city of Los Angeles is scheduled to vote on a dispensary ban similar to the one enacted by the County, but just rejected by the court of appeal. 

"The (appellate court) decision puts a giant wrench into the plans of City Attorney Trutanich to persuade the City Council to enact a ban," said Elford.

–City News Service

hf2hvit July 03, 2012 at 09:44 PM
LEGALIZE IT.
We the People...... July 04, 2012 at 05:05 PM
What other prescription can a person get outside of a pharmacy?
Douglas July 04, 2012 at 11:24 PM
What other plant is illegal to grow in the U.S.? None. It is not illegal to grow papaver somniferum and erythroxylum coca in the U.S.. Marijuana laws are absurd and so are the people who support them.
MFriedrich July 05, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Awesome news. And they would have gotten away from it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids! Welp, back to the van and solving mysteries with my great dane and friends: Velma, Fred and Daphne.
Joker Joe July 05, 2012 at 02:05 PM
What does Obama have to say about this???
DLR July 05, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Medical marijuana is a joke and everybody knows it. It's amazing to me how many 20 something year olds have such serious medical conditions and other very healthy looking people who are supposedly as sick as a dog that nothing but marijuana can help. Check out who hangs out around dispensaries if you don't believe me. Extract the active ingredients, put them in a pill and dispense through a regulated pharmacy just like any other prescription. If you can smoke it or eat it in a brownie, you can take it in a pill. As for those that cry "legalize", the American people have already proven that they can't be mature enough to handle addictive substances, i.e., alcohol, and now you want to add another one to the mix. I don't think so.
Dan Avery July 05, 2012 at 04:23 PM
So the cities that did pass a law against dispensaries can do what now? I hope Candidate "Nitwit" Schlicht brings a new ban to the council in MV. That should be fun.
S.A.P. July 05, 2012 at 04:32 PM
DLR, why would you want to process the active ingredients & put them in a pill when it works perfectly fine in its natural form? Also, it has not been proven that marijuana is addictive.
MFriedrich July 05, 2012 at 04:51 PM
If given the choice, I'd ride with a stoner over a drunk every time. We'd be driving 25 mph and everyone would be pissed. But they'd definitely see us coming and everyone would be alive.
Shripathi Kamath July 05, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Government should not be getting between you and your healthcare, right? If it weren't such a costly waste of time and money, I would have loved to see this escalate back to the SCOTUS, just to see how Justice Scalia twists the powers of the Commerce Clause again. Medicinally, cannabis has been approved as a treatment for some cases of pain management. So a court banning it, is a court interfering with your healthcare. Cannabis is bought and sold, so it is commerce. But wait, what about growing cannabis for personal use? Surely it is not commerce, just like growing tomatoes for personal use is not commerce, even if buying and selling it is. So what did the good justice, who stands for states rights, against fed overreach, personal freedoms, and not getting between you and your healthcare, rule? Sorry, commerce clause, govt. can tell you what to grow and not grow even for personal use. (Scary, because they can regulate your home gardens under that provision) That's right, Feds have a lot of power to regulate such activity because of the Commerce Clause. (Gonzalez v Raich 2005). That is why the ObamaCare advocates were confident till March. Now, ObamaCare does not regulate healthcare, it regulates insurance which is *access* to healthcare. Most definitely commerce. But the good justice? "COMMERCE CLAUSE TOTALLY INAPPLICABLE"
Shripathi Kamath July 05, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Hmm, legalizing something does not mean you cannot regulate it. Alcohol is legal, as is morphine, but both are regulated. "It's amazing to me how many 20 something year olds have such serious medical conditions and other very healthy looking people who are supposedly as sick as a dog that nothing but marijuana can help" Yes, which is why they prefer informed studies conducted by the medical people, instead of sampling three anecdotes from casual observers based on what people look like and calling it "data". A cheerful cancer patient does not look much different than an exhausted working mother. Really. But that is not what we base a diagnosis on. "the American people have already proven that they can't be mature enough to handle addictive substances.." Ah, so you do want the government to be a baby-sitter in a nanny state. Deciding what can be consumed, what cannot be. Not just regulated, but outright denied.
SAS July 05, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Who care what he thinks - politics needs to get out of our bedrooms, our bodies and our needs, thats for each of us to decide.
Douglas July 05, 2012 at 06:01 PM
When alcohol was illegal in the united states drinking was unregulated. Drinking establishments were open 24/7, people of any age were free to drink and alcohol could contain lethal substances like methyl alcohol. Legal = regulated, illegal = unregulated. "As for those that cry "legalize", the American people have already proven that they can't be mature enough to handle addictive substances, i.e., alcohol, and now you want to add another one to the mix. I don't think so." What stupid people can't seem to understand is that all the other substances are already added to the mix. They are just unregulated. If your concern was for the health and safety of children and society you would be for some form of harm reduction strategy. Prohibition does not work, will never work, has never worked. Also the vast majority of people who choose to drink have proven they can and do drink responsibly while a small minority develop problems. It doesn't have anything to with maturity it is a chemical imbalance.
Brash Brazen July 05, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Prohibition of marijuana & medical marijuana particularly is much like the Prohibition of alcohol. While Eliot Ness was busting up breweries & raiding speakeasys juries refused to convict 50% of those arrested. This sort of "jury nullification" is now being seen more frequently in medical marijuana cases. Jurors can't be punished for the verdicts they render irregardless of the facts or evidence presented by prosecutors. Medical marijuana is the law of the land in California & California courts only deal with California law. Whether federal law supercedes state law is a moot point in California courts & is ultimately an issue for the Justice Department & Congress to address. A U.S. District Court Judge In Washington State recently for the first time cited state law when tossing out the admissibility of evidence seized by local search warrant & dismissing federal charges for growing marijuana. No matter one's personal feelings,medical marijuana is legal here & the courts will see to it that Lake Forest adheres to the law like every other city in California,like it or not !!!
AWC July 05, 2012 at 09:07 PM
funny stuff DLR, No different then caffeine bro!!! Which 3/4 of the nation is addicted to btw, and its bad for you, THC/CBD's actually heal the body, educate yourself you sound very foolish, If they want to do some good they can make alcohol illegal and fix the economy, what you dont know is that theres billions of dollars made by the pharmaceutical companys and there tied to politicians, And they aint given up the FULL COURT EXTORTION of your dolllars and Insurance deductables to the tune of 50 billion plus a year!! The active ingredient CBD is already produced by the body in small amounts, its a anti depressent, anti inflamatory, its KILLS cancer cells. Please educate yourself before you go spewing misinformation or bad data please. Go google the following. Rick Simpsons Healing oil, Phoniex Tears, Project CBD. Cannabis Science Inc. God forbid someone in your family is ill, depressed, has Hep C, Cancer etc and there only choice for healing is to consume manmade synthetic chemicals that cost 10's of thousands of dollars for your care, or you could grow a plant, Strains are now tested for THC, CBD, Terpines, there profiled and there are certain strains for certain needs. Educate yourself, its fun and you'll be a smarter person!
Frank Mockery July 06, 2012 at 07:06 AM
MEDICAL MARIJUANA - IT'S GOOD FOR YOU !!! TRY SOME TODAY !!!
Marc Schroeder July 06, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I wonder if this ruling will be enough for our local city councils to pull their heads out of the dark stinky place and start allowing dispensaries to operate out of the shadows as they currently are, or is it going to take more lawsuits, legal fees and multimillion dollar judgements? Hmmm, perhaps now would be a good time to open one?
Marc Schroeder July 06, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Why do you care Bobo? You have no respect for the man or the fact he is your president, perhaps your obsession with him has to do with deeply rooted homo-sexual urges to do it with a half black man? Ask your Mother if she is willing to take you to a Psychiatrist to find out.
Chris Davidson July 17, 2012 at 01:12 PM
You obviously have not a clue to what you are talking about. Alcholhol and weed are not cut from the same clothe. When did you hear a man coming home "High" and beating his wife and kids? Or sleep with someone they usually wouldn't. Alchohol causes pancreaites, stomache cancer etc... Stomache ulcers, violant outbursts, abusive acts and thoughts. Give me a reason not to go on and make a fool, clown, idiot, schmuck, bozo, foolish person you made yourself out to be by making these over the top preminisions like your some Nastrodaumus or something. Roll it, Light it, Smoke it!!! <ZZZZZZZZZZZZ#~~~~~~~~~~~~ ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh..... YOU BAFOON!!!!

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