Local Marijuana Bans In Jeopardy As State Supreme Court Hears Pot Cases

All Southwest Riverside County cities have bans or moratoriums in place, and dozens of dispensaries across the area have been shuttered by authorities.

With the tussle over medical marijuana ongoing across the state, a local case scheduled next month before the California Supreme Court is being closely eyed.

The case of City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center will be heard in February by the justices. The case will ask this question: Can cities ban medical marijuana clinics?

Medical marijuana is legal in California, but many say the law's language is loose when it comes to dispensaries and storefronts. As such, Riverside County and nearly all of its cities have banned pot facilities.

All Southwest Riverside County cities have bans or moratoriums in place, and dozens of dispensaries across the area have been shuttered by authorities.

The bans received support when in November 2011 Fourth District Appellate Court Judge Carol Codrington ruled against Inland Empire Patients Health and upheld the City of Riverside's ban on medical marijuana clinics. Inland Empire Patients Health appealed the decision and the state Supreme Court agreed to take the case.

The bans are illegal, according to Lanny Swerdlow of Inland Empire Patients Health. He says the pressure to crack down on dispensaries has been coming from police, not the public.

Complicating the argument is the issue of federal versus state: Cannabis is an illegal drug under federal law.

But the state Supreme Court will take up that issue too. The Pack lower-court decision held that some dispensary regulations may be preempted by federal law.

In the eyes of the Feds, there is no distinction. agency spokeswoman Amy Roderick told Patch, “It is a Schedule l substance under federal law. For us, there is no argument.”


Paul January 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM
On the plus side the CITY of Los Angeles City Council voted 8-4 yeterday to put two pro MMJ Dispensary proposals on the ballot to allow a hundred or more dispensaries tobe recognized that were operating before their moratorium or ban went into effect. It will have to be voted on a second time at the next meeting to become law.
Paul January 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM
On another plus side the new mayor of San Diego (that is like the city manager in some cities) has ordered the city police to STOP a specific crackdown on MMJ dispensaries and ordered the city attormey to stop prosecution those existing cases that had been ordered by the prior mayor. Remember the city council had appointed a committee to study the issue for over a year and bring back plans to the City Council. They were good well thought out plans. But opponents to dispensaries put in land zoning to block out most of the city except a hard to get to industrial section. The CC passed it last year. The pro MMJ people got about 40,000 signatures, much more than they needed in the 30 days to overturn the new city ordnance because it was too restrictive in locations. That left them with no city permits, so the anti-MMJ city attorney and former mayor started a crackdown to try shut them ALL down. This means dispensaries that are in compliance with state law but do not have city permits are not to be cracked down on for that reason. Obviously the police can still make raids or arrests for selling to persons without recommendations, etc. However, the County DA, Bonnie Dummanis, will still probably continue her reign of terror against dispensaries and get the federal prosecutor to help her. In federal court a defendant is NOT permitted to tell a jury that he was complying with state laws, but is prosecuted as a common criminal street dealer that sells to anyone.
Paul January 23, 2013 at 12:41 PM
OK Linda, I will take a look at your Facebook page.
DB February 01, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Just about as long as it has for tobacco and alcohol .... I could grow tobacco in my yard and don't.....I do not smoke it, but I could.....I certainly could make my own beer and wine....without penalty and I could make my own whiskey......I don't because there is a better, more affordable product out there......Remember, making it legal takes the profit and high prices the cartels out of the picture.......will there be profits to be made? You bet there will be. Look at just about any "non-profit" church in the area, they are the only ones building.....tell me they are not making profits......Catholic Church, LDS, CMS...some of the wealthiest organizations on the planet right there.....
Kevin_Hunt February 01, 2013 at 07:14 PM
@ Rev. Smith. How well has the $104 Billion per year war on drugs worked out for the taxpayers? Do you have any data to show that it is 'working'?


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