Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dispensaries Back in Business in L.A.? Not so Fast, Says Appeals Court — the Same One that Struck Down Dispensary Ban!

A day after a California appeals court threw out a dispensary ban in unincorporated Los Angeles County, a panel — from the same court — affirmed limits on the number of dispensaries in the city.

The previous decision by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr overturned the bans on the basis of preemption. Mohr found that the state law medical marijuana allowed dispensaries to operate without criminal prosecution, despite officials charging owners and operators with misdemeanors.

However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Douglas Sortino, wrote the next day that there was no preemption, based on prior court decisions and laws passed after those cases.

Naturally, the Los Angeles City Attorney was relieved with the decision. Los Angeles Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher said: "We're tremendously gratified that the court of appeal understood the state's medical marijuana laws and how they apply to the city's ordinance. The court of appeal reversed the trial court on each and every ground."

But it might not be as clear as the city attorney hopes. Doug Galanter, a lawyer representing one of dispensaries involved in the case, said, "We think the justices got it wrong on the question of privacy rights and due process, because we do think that state law does confer certain rights that afford due process."

In other words, situation normal...you know the rest.