Thursday, July 5, 2012

California Appeals Courts Rule that Dispensary Bans are Illegal

A court decision has again thrown a monkey wrench into the agenda of anti-access groups by deciding the dispensary ban in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles is a violation of the state law that legalizes medical cannabis.

Arguments against the establishment of dispensaries, such as storefronts and pot sales being in violation of the state medical marijuana laws, were swept away by a California Appeals Court, the Long Beach Post reports. The bans, the court wrote, relied on an "unduly" narrow interpretation of the law.

The ruling concurs with another appeals court in February that decided local governments could not ban dispensaries altogether. Like the recent ruling, it exempts patients and caregivers from criminal prosecution for taking part in legal medical activities and from nuisance abatement hearings — or negative secondary effects, such as supposed increases in crime around the dispensary.

"Thus, the Legislature has determined the activities it authorized at collective or cooperative cultivation sites, including a dispensary function, do not constitute a nuisance," the February ruling read.

These decisions will no doubt force the Los Angeles City Council to reevaluate a proposal to close all the city's dispensaries.

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