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High Court Ruling That Cities Can Ban Pot Shops Might Be Too Late For L.A.

High Court Ruling That Cities Can Ban Pot Shops Might Be Too Late For L.A.
Susan Slade Sanchez for LA Weekly

The California Supreme Court today ruled that cities like Los Angeles can indeed ban pot shops through zoning if they so desire.

Too late? After unsuccessfully trying to ban dispensaries, the L.A. City Council is backing a May 21 ballot initiative that would allow 100 or so of the marijuana businesses to survive:

That proposal, called Measure D, is also supported by those very dispensaries, the ones that have been around since before an October, 2007 "moratorium" on pot shops that was also unsuccessful.

Another measure, F, would allow many if not most pot shops in L.A. to remain so long as the adhered to certain rules, including background checks for operators, operating hours and maintaining certain distances from schools.

The court today said California's medical marijuana laws do not preempt local governments from banning facilities.

The case, City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, had the dispensary challenging that municipality's 2010 ban on pot shops.

The court ruled unanimously in favor of Riverside, although there are five other similar cases in the pipeline, says the group Americans for Safe Access.

About 200 cities across the Golden State have similar bans.

The ASA apparently sees a mixed bag in the ruling, noting that "the court also recognized the legality of dispensaries."

The group quotes the court as saying "nothing prevents future efforts by the Legislature, or by the People, to adopt a different approach."

In other words, legislators could always overrule the court.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]