Orange County Appeals Court Stops City Ban On Marijuana Shops

According to Banning Pot Shops within City Limits – Not so Fast, Says Appellate Court!, the Fourth District, Division 3 Court of Appeal became the first appellate court in the state to strike down a city’s total ban on “pot shops” or medical marijuana facilities. The question of whether cities like Lake Forest and Long Beach can entirely ban such facilities is likely headed to the State Supreme Court because other Courts of Appeal have ruled that such bans are okay.

There is much controversy regarding medical marijuana in California and beyond. The federal government refuses to recognize any legitimate medical purpose for marijuana and classifies it as a dangerous drug. At the same time, Californians overwhelmingly believe there are medical benefits for marijuana and voted for Prop 215 to permit the use of marijuana in our state for medicinal purposes. California is well ahead of the curve than the rest of the country in this regard. At the same time, cities don’t know what to do when there is a conflict between federal law and state law over marijuana. Some city counsel members also believe that medical marijuana facilities lead to other problems, like increases in crime and violence in their cities. Some people believe that calling marijuana “medical” marijuana simply allows people to legitimize recreational drug use.

At the same time that the Court of Appeal in Orange County said a city cannot ban a pot shop, they added a new requirement that such shops can only sell marijuana that is grown on-location. This may effectively close up shops because shops cannot grow the quantities of marijuana inside a store front to meet the demand of the consumers. What a strange way for the COA to split the baby.

It is crazy that the executive branch would waste a dollar more fighting the failed war on drugs, particularly over marijuana. California could use the money from taxing marijuana for recreational use and giving patients access when they use it as medicine.The issue seems ripe for the State Supreme Court to decide but, I suspect, will also eventually end up back in front of the SCOTUS.