A ruling in favor of a is on hold after the California Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a petition from the city to review the decision.
The state Supreme Court agreed to hear a case about whether cities can use their zoning codes to prohibit dispensaries as Lake Forest has done, according to City News Service.
The decision puts on hold the , issued in February, until the state's highest court rules.
In the meantime, the Lake Forest City Attorney's office plans to resume prosecuting the dispensaries under the city's zoning code, according to a statement released this afternoon.
"We are very pleased that the California Supreme Court agreed with the City of Lake Forest and will be providing much needed guidance in this ever-changing area of law. We are hopeful the Supreme Court will hear the applicable cases in early 2013,” said Jeffrey V. Dunn, the attorney representing Lake Forest.
The legal saga has been ping-ponging through the courts since October 2009 when Evergreen Holistic sued the city for shuttering dispensaries that it said were a nuisance.
In May 2010, Orange County Superior Court Judge David Chaffee issued a preliminary injunction intended to shut down 11 Lake Forest dispensaries. A stay on the injunction was granted while the appellate court reviewed Chaffee's ruling. In February, a panel of appellate court justices backed the collective.
City officials may use their nuisance ordinance to regulate the dispensaries and collectives, but can't just declare them a nuisance and order their closure, the panel decided.
This latest twist—the entrance of the California Supreme Court in the back-and-forth—releases the City Attorney's office from a temporary hiatus on its prosecution of the dispensaries, which it alleges are operating illegally.
“We have worked hard to rid the community of illegal marijuana stores,” City Manager Bob Dunek said in a statement. “The City has consistently viewed this matter as an issue of local public safety and the City’s right to enforce its zoning laws on behalf of the people of Lake Forest.”
According to the statement on the court's decision, the city has taken no position relative to the use of marijuana for personal medical use by seriously ill individuals where the medical use is deemed appropriate by a physician.