Yesterday, the California Second District Court of Appeal ruled that medical marijuana collectives are legal under state law. In addition, the court rejected all bans imposed by municipalities.
As a result of this ruling, Los Angeles County’s total ban on dispensaries is considered void. The ruling of County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective reverses a preliminary junction granted to the County by the LA Superior Court last May.
Regarding the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries, the court ruled that “[T]he repeated use of the term ‘dispensary’ throughout [Health and Safety Code section 11362.768] and the reference in subdivision (e) to a ‘storefront or mobile retail outlet’ make it abundantly clear that the medical marijuana collectives authorized by section 11362.775 are permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function.”
The court also asserted that, “[Los Angeles] County’s total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature’s intent,” and called that contradiction “direct, patent, obvious, and palpable.”
This decision has the potential to have a huge impact on California’s medical marijuana industry. Currently, there are a number of court cases regarding the legality of banning or restricting the operation of collectives throughout the state.
Prior to the decision, the City of Los Angeles had scheduled a hearing for July 24th during which they planned to vote on an outright ban of all dispensaries. However, under this new ruling, implementing such a ban would be in direct contradiction of the state’s medical marijuana law. It is unclear what the city intends to do next.
It is possible that the California Supreme Court will step in and review the ruling within the coming weeks.