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California Supreme Court Grants Review of Four Medical Marijuana Cases

January 20, 2012
On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court took a step toward providing California cities with some clarity on the law respecting medical marijuana dispensaries by granting review in four cases.

The main case, Pack v. City of Long Beach, involves a Court of Appeal ruling that Long Beach's medical marijuana dispensary ordinance was pre-empted by the federal Controlled Substances Act. Two cases, City of Riverside v. Inland Patient's Health & Wellness Center, Inc. and People v. G3 Holistic, concern Court of Appeal decisions upholding ordinances that banned medical marijuana dispensaries. The last case is Traudt v. City of Dana Point, a Court of Appeal decision concerning whether an individual has standing to bring a lawsuit alleging a violation of state law with respect to a medical marijuana collective.

The League's City Attorneys' Department formed a Medical Marijuana Committee, and will be reviewing the implications for cities pending the Supreme Court's decision. The committee has identified more than 100 active cases involving medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives. The impact of the Supreme Court's grant of review on these cases is unclear and will likely need to be determined by the judge in each case. It may be several years before we receive the Supreme Court's decision.

The League would like to thank Ruthann Zeigler with the law firm of Meyers Nave, and the members of the Medical Marijuana Committee, for drafting the League's letter to the Supreme Court requesting the court grant review of the decision in Pack v. City of Long Beach.

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