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State Court: L.A. Can't Ban Pot Shops

A panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal finds that Los Angeles County's ban on medical marijuana is 'preempted' by state law.

A state appeals court affirmed the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries under California law and rejected bans imposed by municipalities.

A three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal held Monday that Los Angeles County's ban on medical marijuana is "preempted" by state law. The decision reverses a preliminary junction granted to the county by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann Jones in May 2011.   

On July 24th, the city of Los Angeles is similar to the one enacted by the County, but just rejected by the court of appeal.

"Los Angeles County's total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the legislature's intent," Justice Robert Mallano wrote in the 19-page unanimous decision.

Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, said the ruling put a "major wrennch" in City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's effort to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles.

"The court of appeal could not have been clearer in expressing that medical marijuana dispensaries are legal under state law, and that municipalities have no right to ban them," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group. "This landmark decision should have a considerable impact on how the California Supreme Court rules in the various dispensary cases it's currently reviewing."  

While the ruling will do doubt be welcomed by many in the medical marijuana community, it still does not make them safe from being raided and/or forcibly closed.

The federal government has been , an aggressive policy change that was announced with a simultaneous raid on a North Hollywood-area shop last October.

The LAPD also appears to have left policies regarding pot shops up to each division. Over the last three years, the Devonshire Division systematically shut down dozens of shops, a move that scared off many others to the point that it is believed there are no more pot shops in the entire division's patrol area.

However, the North Hollywood Division and many others have taken a hands-off approach to pot shops, leading to inconsistency in how the LAPD as a whole views pot shops. See more:

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ezio giraldo July 03, 2012 at 10:33 PM
this is a load of SH*T why can pasadena burbank and glendale control the proliferation of organized crime in their zipcodes. eagle rock and highland park inbetween has become a haven for these criminals. these thugs settup shop in our neighborhoods then go back ot their million dollar homes in the municipalities. Some of us are fed up with the nuisance and negligence of the stoned ruining our neghborhoods. LAPD dont care and netiher does the city council. Make noise at the federal level so the DEA CAN TAKE ACTION. call their LA branch and ask for the marijuana group and tell them whaa the marijuana trade has done to your neighborhood (213) 621-6700
sila July 04, 2012 at 05:48 PM
100 years from now marijuana prohibition will seem as silly as the 1920's alcohol prohibition does now. More so when people realize that mmj can remedy certain conditions with less damage than popular pharmaceudicals.... Humans have been enjoying mj for hundreds of thousands of years with no ill effect (other than laziness, but in the long run sugar changes dna to make people lazy much more than any amount of mj could) and it will still be around after all the idiots who'd rather load up on synthetic pills are broken down and gone. Personally, when it comes to ANY medication, if it doesn't come from the ground, it doesn't go in my body.
Hooper Humperdink July 05, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I sure will call them up and tell them what the marijuana trade has done in my neighborhood: - Employed the unemployable - Filled vacant retail space - Brought people to our historic retail districts with an appetite and some spending money in their hands - Lowered the stakes in the drug war - Kept my neighbors out of the prison-criminal justice-industrial system
chris watts August 01, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Well, I don't take medication from the ground, but seriously, let the pot smokers smoke their pot. I have never encountered any thugs on my walk down York, and there is a comically large number of dispensaries between 50 and 53. I don't see anyone complaining about the yoga people or the pet owners ruining the neighborhood, but there seem to be a lot of them around. Smoking weed is a personal choice- if you don't smoke (I don't) then what's the difference? Unless someone's blowing smoke in your face, is there really any need to get upset? c

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