Marijuana Decision by Calif. Supreme Court Allows Cities Like L.A. to Shut Down Pot Shops
Medical marijuana is legal in California. But you can't sell medical marijuana in California?
It's a contentious issue, one that even the author of California's dispensary legislation argues to this day: Former state Sen. John Vasconcellos told us the law was intended to allow pot sales. The L.A. city attorney's office, the L.A. district attorney and the LAPD say otherwise: You sell it, you're violating the law.
A new court ruling (or, actually, a lack of one), is being hailed as a huge victory by the side that says selling is drug dealing:
The California Supreme Court declined to review a lower court decision that favored the city of L.A. in its crackdown on a Culver City-adjacent pot shop called Organica.
The operator argued that the store was protected from the city's nuisance abatement efforts by state law allowing medical marijuana collectives. Here's the city attorney's spin today on the lower court ruling that was, in effect, upheld with the Supreme Court decided not to review it (emphasis ours):
The Court held that only group activity by qualified patients or their primary caregivers "to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes" was immunized. Dispensing and selling marijuana were not immunized and remains illegal. The Court specifically noted that only individual primary caregivers were authorized to receive any reimbursement.
Is this another nail in the coffin of dispensaries?
The L.A. City Council is on the verge of outlawing our town's 500 or so dispensaries. One of the arguments made by leaders of the effort, including Councilman Jose Huizar, is that pot shops shouldn't be selling weed for profit -- that the law was only intended to green-light the sharing of weed collectively by and for the ill.
Huizar's proposal would allow nonprofit collectives of folks who want to grow and share pot for medical needs.
In the meantime, the LAPD has been shutting down dispensaries in the San Fernando Valley -- mainly based on the concept that selling pot, even under the banner of medical use, is illegal.