California Supreme Court to Resolve Questions About Regulating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


This week the California Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases that should help clarify the rules for supplying medical marijuana. In October the 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned Long Beach's licensing system for dispensaries, saying it conflicted with the federal Controlled Substances Act because it went "beyond decriminalization into authorization." In November the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that California's laws allowing medical use of cannabis do not bar local governments from banning dispensaries within their jurisdictions. The first decision made regulation of dispensaries legally problematic, while the second offered a straightforward way to avoid the hassle. The upshot was a boost for local bans. In Los Angeles, for example, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is pushing a "gentle ban" on medical marijuana that would allow cultivation by patients and caregivers but prohibit over-the-counter sales.