California Court of Appeals Voids A Very Stupid Law


The Pacific Legal Foundation's Timothy Sandefur brings word of a welcome victory for economic liberty in the Golden State:

The California Court of Appeal yesterday issued that rarest of decisions—a case invalidating a silly government regulation under the "rational basis" test. The case involves a San Francisco ordinance that prohibits pharmacies—but not grocery stores or club stores—from selling cigarettes. The City claimed the ordinance protected public health because pharmacists shouldn't be associated with the sale of poisonous cigarettes, but Walgreen's (which essentially owns all the pharmacies subject to this restriction) pointed out that the pharmacists don't sell the cigarettes, and the cigarettes aren't kept in the medicine section of the stores, and grocery stores, that are allowed to sell cigarettes, were still allowed to maintain pharmacy departments.

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  1. It wasn’t all that long ago (the 90s) when I could walk into a Walgreen’s, browse the isles, and pick up a cedar box of decent Dominican cigars for $30. Taxes, political expediencies and rampant nanny-statism has made this a whimsical memory, alas.

    1. Here in Virginia, Walgreen’s still sells cigars, though none I would now smoke.

  2. It takes a remarkably stupid law to fail the “rational basis” test. Congratulations San Francisco!

  3. The distinction between a grocery store and a pharmacy is totally artificial these days. The difference is really just in focus and quantity, with a huge overlap (I’d say more than 90%) in the actual types of items sold.

    1. basically, the difference is fruit and vegetables on the one hand, and pharmaceuticals on the other.

      1. Actually, a lot of grocery stores have pharmaceuticals and even pharmacists on staff, as noted in the post. The city ordinance didn’t care if grocery stores with pharmacists and pharmaceuticals sold cigarettes, just pharmacies. Hence the no rational basis.

  4. There can’t be more than a handful of laws that have ever failed that test.

    1. Damn, we’re good!

      1. Blaming the wrong people this time. This was a San Francisco city ordinance.

    2. 1 down, 56,982,347,871,957.5 to go!

  5. The City claimed the ordinance protected public health because pharmacists shouldn’t be associated with the sale of poisonous cigarettes,

    Maybe San Francisco didn’t get the memo:

    Cigarettes are regulated by the FDA, meaning they are “Safe and effective”.

    Done and done.

  6. Liberty isn’t everything. How about duty? You asshole libertarian fucks don’t care about duty, obligation, commitment.

    1. Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.

    2. Edward/Lefiti/Max/Marusia/etc., what about your duty not to deplete all of Earth’s usernames?

      1. RIGHT?! Soon we wont be able to have anyone else join the fun here, since any name they pick will be marred by your shitstains Edmorrisaxrusia.

      2. (umm, not sure if i threaded that right. I’m seconding Jordan’s comment, but directing it to the ShitStain.)

      3. Who has ever posted as etc.?

    3. You are so right, I have been negligent in my civic duty to beat you soundly with a baseball bat.

      Shall we get together soon?

    4. We do care about duty. There’s a lot of stupid tariffs and duties placed on imports and exports that we oppose.

  7. Now that the laws voided what will happen to the children? I think I’m going to go buy a colored bracelet, hold a candlelight vigil, and cry. What kind of world do we live in?

    1. Getcha colored bracelets here, $1 a piece, get while they’re hot. Popcorn, peanuts, colored bracelets, come and get em!

  8. Rational basis is a pretty low bar to overcome.

    For San Francisco to pass a law that does not even pass rational basis…

    1. It’s not so much “rational basis” test, as half the laws on the books would be thrown out. It’s more like a “this isn’t completely undeniably retarded” test.

  9. CA was trying to kill Walgreen’s like MD was trying to kill Wal-Mart, but slightly different?

    Am I getting better at this?

    1. Not CA in general, just SF.

  10. Wow, for once the Kangaroo COurts get it right? Wow, amazing.

  11. LOL you got that right. Kangaroo courts indeed

  12. Ok, only another 437,221,853 laws to go.

  13. Of course, they’ll just come back with an ordinance that says “no cigarettes if you also have a pharmacist on staff” or something else that would cover grocery stories with pharmacies.

    1. Probably not. I’m guessing the grocery stores pushed for the law to begin with.

  14. I heard recently Walgreens got started during Prohibition by selling “Medicinal” liquor.

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