Med-Heads Rejoice: California Cities Can't Ban Pot Shops Based On U.S. Drug Laws

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Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 8:54 AM
click to enlarge Anaheim can't outlaw pot shops based on federal drug laws.
  • Anaheim can't outlaw pot shops based on federal drug laws.

Can cities ban medical marijuana shops based on federal law that outlaws pot? A state court essentially said no this week, handing a victory to cannabis-shop advocates.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals finalized its order that overturns a lower court's dismissal of Qualified Patients Association's suit against the city of Anaheim for closing it down.

The court says Anaheim can't base its pot shop limits on the U.S. prohibition of cannabis.

"Obviously, the city is disappointed the California Supreme Court did not grant review,'' Moses Johnson, an attorney representing Anaheim, said.

Does this mean that dispensaries across the Golden State can fight back against laws like the one in the city of L.A. that has put most of its pot shops out of business?

Probably not. But maybe.

The ruling was based on Anaheim basing part of its ban on federal drug law. L.A. has based its dispensary law on rules dictating where the businesses can be, what hours they can operate, and how they're run.

In fact, with federal law out of the way, those kinds of limits will likely be the basis of the case as the two parties head to trial in O.C. Superior Court. So L.A. med-heads will surely be watching.

Meanwhile, the Orange County Register reports that a Dana Point pot shop has reopened following a similar state appeals court ruling that overturned a temporary restraining order against the shop.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.

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