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California Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Medical Marijuana Dispensary Case

February 4, 2013

Tomorrow the California Supreme Court will hear oral argument in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center (Case No. S198638) involving the city’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. This closely-watched case will address the extent to which the state medical marijuana laws may pre-empt local land use and business regulation authority.

 

In this case, the city of Riverside adopted an ordinance that prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries, and provides that a violation can be abated as a public nuisance. After the ordinance was adopted, defendants opened a dispensary, which the city then sought to close as a nuisance. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeal held for the city, and the defendant appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, in addition to the Riverside case, has granted review in five other cases involving ordinances that either ban or regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, but only the Riverside case has been set for oral argument. It is expected that the Supreme Court’s decision will provide valuable guidance to local agencies on their authority to regulate or ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

Oral argument will begin at 11 a.m. The argument will be streamed live online.

The League would also like to thank Tom Brown and Steve McEwen of Burke Williams & Sorensen for drafting the amicus brief on behalf of the League in this case.



 
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