CA Court: Feds Can Shut Down Dispensaries

Federal agents have the right to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries in California under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, an appeals court ruled on Wednesday.

The ruling, handed down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, rejected lawsuits put forth by three separate dispensary owners, their landlords and their patients. The groups had argued that simply following California’s state laws governing medical marijuana should protect them from federal prosecution.

They collectively sought an injunction to prevent federal authorities from enforcing the federal Controlled Substances Act against businesses operating under California’s Compassionate Use Act, which legalizes medical marijuana.

The court did not agree, upholding several lower court decisions. Two days after taking the submission, the three-judge panel required just four pages of text to dispose of the three lawsuits. The panel ruled that an injunction would “compromise a governmental interest in enforcing the law.”

The three groups have been attempting to challenge this rule since 2011, when California’s U.S. attorneys threatened property owners who leased space to marijuana shops.