Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Thrown Out in California Supreme Court

This should thwart the bad intentions of local officials who ban dispensaries, and consequently send the most vulnerable of the patient population to the streets in search of marijuana. Dispensaries are vital for patients who are marijuana naive and have no interest in getting "high." Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Thrown Out in California Supreme Court

Submitted by ASA on Aug 23, 2012

Los Angeles, CA -- 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 Court of Appeal decision is somehow reinstated."

The reasoning used to dismiss the Pack case was that after the California Supreme Court decided to review the appellate decision, the Long Beach City Council repealed and replaced the ordinance with an outright ban on dispensaries thereby making moot the issues before the court. In addition, the petitioners in Pack "have now abandoned their federal preemption argument in favor of unrelated issues not raised or decided at any prior stage of this proceeding," according to the court.

Because the recently adopted dispensary ban in Los Angeles was predicated on the Packdecision, enforcement efforts by the City Attorney would be premature and potentially unlawful. Despite threats of enforcement, patient advocates have vowed to overturn the ban in Los Angeles and are currently gathering the fewer than 30,000 signatures needed to do so.

Several other appellate cases remain before the State Supreme Court pending review later this year or early next year. In one of the most closely watched cases, City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center, ASA has filed an amicus 'friend of the court' brief rejecting the notion that cities can ban local distribution of medical marijuana. "While municipalities may pass reasonable regulations over the location and operation of medical marijuana collectives, they cannot ban them absolutely," read the brief. "These bans thwart the Legislature’s stated objectives of ensuring access to marijuana for the seriously ill persons who need it in a uniform manner throughout the state."

There are currently more than 50 cities and counties in California that have adopted dispensary regulatory ordinances, which are safely and legally accommodating the needs of their patients, as well as other members of their communities. An increasing number of studies also show that regulating dispensaries decrease crime and increase the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods.

via Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Thrown Out in California Supreme Court.

No limits on medical pot, Calif. high court rules - Health - Health care -

This is an important ruling because we are just learning about the impressive therapeutic effects of concentrated cannabis oil, used both internally and topically for anti-tumor activity. More and more pathology reports are turning up that seem to confirm that ingesting huge amounts of cannabinoids, concentrated into an oil, works to stunt and possibly kill off tumors. Without the freedom to produce massive amounts of cannabis, these remedies cannot be made. Also, more and more topical pain relief products are coming out that are infused with marijuana's cannabinoid oils. Try getting those from a street dealer! No limits on medical pot, Calif. high court rules

High court reverses mandate that patients can have maximum of 8 ounces

SAN FRANCISCO — A unanimous California Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a law that sought to impose limits on the amount of marijuana a medical patient can legally possess.

The California Supreme Court ruled that state lawmakers were wrong to change provisions of the voter-approved Proposition 215. The 1996 measure allowed for patients with a doctor's recommendation to possess an unspecified amount of marijuana.

The Legislature, seeking to give law enforcement guidance on when to make marijuana possession arrests, mandated in 2003 that each patient could have a maximum of 8 ounces of dried marijuana.

The high court says only voters can change amendments that they've added to California's constitution through the initiative process. The ruling by Chief Justice Ron George left in place the portion of the new law that protects patients possessing a state-issue medical marijuana identification card from arrest. George did note, though, that police were still authorized to make arrests if they believe the cards to be forgeries or reasonably suspects a crime has been committed.

Left open to interpretation: What amount of marijuana is for legitimate personal medical consumption and how much constitutes illegal trafficking?

"The California Supreme Court did the right thing by abolishing limits on medical marijuana possession and cultivation," said Joe Elford, the top lawyer for the marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. "At the same time, the Court may have left too much discretion to law enforcement in deciding what are reasonable amounts of medicine for patients to possess and cultivate."

The Supreme Court's decision upholds a lower court ruling that tossed out the conviction of Patrick Kelly, a Southern California man who was arrested for possession of 12 ounces of dried marijuana and seven plants. A "confidential informant" called Lakewood Police to report Kelly's possession in October 2005.

Experts testified that the amount of marijuana Kelly had on hand would last him just a few weeks for treatment of hepatitis C, chronic back pain, and cirrhosis.

The ruling was widely expected because the California Attorney General's office largely agreed with the position of Kelly's court-appointed attorney Gerald Uelman, a Santa Clara University law professor.

Also Thursday, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that a doctor's permission to use medical marijuana doesn't preclude police from arresting a patient or searching a home. The court upheld the conviction of Jason Fry, a Stevens County man busted with 2 pounds of marijuana in 2004.

Justices said sheriff's officers who smelled marijuana smoke at his home had probable cause to believe a crime was committed — even after the man presented them with an authorization from his doctor.

Justice Richard Sanders disagreed, arguing that under the ruling, a patient could be searched, arrested and hauled to court every time an officer smelled marijuana at his or her home, even absent any evidence the patient is breaking the medical marijuana law.

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