CA 2d dist. Court of Appeal -- Whose Rulings Are Controling Authority In L.A. County -- Strikes Down L.A. County Supervisors' Blanket Ban On Medpot Outlets (in unincorporated areas), Reasoning It Conflicts With And Is Preempted by State Laws Allowing Storefront Medical Marijuana Outlets


(July 2, 2012, 10:52 p.m.) -- A three judge panel of the 2nd district Court of Appeal -- whose rulings are controling authority in Los Angeles County -- has struck down L.A. County's blanket ban [in non-incorporated parts of the County] on medical marijuana outlets, reasoning that it conflicts with and is preempted (trumped) by the Compassionate Use Act (Prop 215, enacted by voters in 1996, authorizes marijuana use for medical purposes) and the Medical Marijuana Program enacted by the legislature to allow the operation of a "medical marijuana cooperative, collective, dispensary" in a "storefront . . . outlet."

To view the Court of Appeal's full opinion in Los Angeles County vs. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective, et al, click here (opinion by Justices Mallano, Chaney and Johnson).

"We agree that the County’s complete ban on all 'medical marijuana dispensaries,' including collectives and cooperatives authorized under Health and Safety Code section 11362.775, conflicts with, and is thus preempted by, California’s medical marijuana laws," the Court of Appeal stated in reversing an order by a lower court granting a preliminary injunction based on the County Board of Supervisors'-enacted ban (applicable in unincorporated County areas). what extent is the Long Beach City Council's ban enacted on February 14, 2012 on all medical marijuana outlets (except 18 exempted outlets) still enforceable? Is the County's blanket ban distinguishable/different from LB's Feb 2012-enacted ban? How is the County's civil enforcement different from the City of Long Beach's civil enforcement under its current ban? Should LB's current ban be tweaked/changed? That awaits the opinion of City Attorney Robert Shannon on Tuesday.

By coincidence, on Tuesday July 3 (one day after the Court of Appeal's latest opinion), the Long Beach City Council is scheduled to discuss an item agendized by Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Councilmembers Rae Gabelich and Steven Neal that would continue to let 18 outlets (now believed to be 14) continue operating until Aug. 12; the Council reasoned that it was fair to give those outlets time to wrap up their affairs, since they'd participated in good faith in the city's regulatory framework until it was invalidated in Pack vs. City of Long Beach. That ruling was also by the 2nd dist. Court of Appeals (but a different three judge panel) and struck down LB's ordinance on grounds that it sought to regulate and permit what federal law expressly prohibits.

The Lowenthal-Gabelich-Neal agenda item set for Tuesday's Council meeting would let the 14-18 outlets now exempt from LB's ban continue operating until the CA Supreme Court rules on the LB ordinance. However, it simultaneously directs LBPD "to work with all appropriate local and state agencies to shut down and prosecute" all collectives not exempt from the ban.

So (again): to what extent is LB's current ban on all (non-exempted) medical marijuana outlets still legally effective, and if it isn't what needs to be done to make it so?

Developing...with further to follow on

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