A pot shop ban has been upheld in the California Supreme Court on Monday. While the case centered on a Riverside ban passed in 2010, the ruling may allow local governments throughout the state — including Los Angeles — to move forward with their own bans.
California’s proposition 215 was passed in 1996 to permit the sale of medical marijuana to seriously ill patients. At the time, state authorities assumed that a California or even a federal plan would be worked out to allow for legal distribution of the drug.
Instead, no organized distribution plan was ever developed. Instead, according to CBS Los Angeles, more than 50 local governments across California came up with their own licensing procedures. Almost 200 cities including Riverside and Los Angeles have banned the distribution altogether.
The court ruled unanimously that Riverside had the right to ban pot shops. However you feel about medical marijuana, it may be difficult for non-Californians to see how they could have ruled otherwise. Local governments have always had the ability to enact their own zoning ordinances which prevents people from engaging in otherwise legal activities within their borders.
However, California courts do sometimes rule the other way. Last summer, Riverside was told that they couldn’t close marijuana storefronts located in unincorporated areas outside the city limits.
And a southern California appeals court recently struck down the Los Angeles County’s ban on the pot shops — opening the way for medical marijuana collectives to move back into business there.
Confused yet? Wait. There’s more.
Some cities may pass the political football by enacting a pot shop ban that they don’t plan to enforce against seriously ill patients. Elected officials in San Diego are currently sparring over whether or not Mayor Bob Filner is really enforcing that city’s anti-pot ordinance.
The issue came to a head in late April, when federal Drug Enforcement Agents (DEA) raided a downtown San Diego dispensary said to be one of 20 openly operating in defiance of the city’s pot shop ban.
[pot shop photo by Juan Camilo Bernal via Shutterstock]