Medical Marijuana

Pivotal Medical Marijuana Ruling in California Tossed

Case had been used by municipalities to justify dispensary bans.

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The California Supreme Court dismissed review yesterday of an important appellate court ruling affecting medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. Specifically, the High Court threw out the controversial decision in Pack v. City of Long Beach, which previously held that federal law preempted some forms of dispensary regulations. The Pack decision has been used by several municipalities, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, to suspend or ban outright the distribution of medical marijuana. However, yesterday's dismissal of the Pack decision throws into question the viability of such bans.

"This is an important moment for medical marijuana patients in California," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy organization. "The California Supreme Court has essentially pulled out the rug from under local officials who have used the Pack decision to deny access to medical marijuana for thousands of patients across the state," continued Elford. "Pack is now a dead letter and, because of the California Rules of Court (Rule 8.528), it is disingenuous for any public official to contend that the appellate decision is somehow reinstated."