Ruling on Legality of California Dispensary Closures a Blow to Medical Marijuana Industry, MMJ Patients

A federal appeals court has sided with two California cities that are forcing all marijuana dispensaries within their boundaries to close, ruling that such moves do not violate federal disability laws.

The decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ends a last-ditch effort by disabled MMJ patients in Lake Forest and Costa Mesa, California, to prevent city officials from cutting off their access to medical marijuana.

The cannabis industry had been watching the case closely. A decision in favor of the patients could have reverberated across the country, giving medical cannabis advocates a new legal strategy to combat forced dispensary closures.

Given that the court ruled in favor of the cities, however, it’s unlikely this type of lawsuit could be used to stop local officials from closing dispensaries elsewhere. The ruling is also a blow to California’s medical marijuana industry, as the two cities involved in the lawsuit have already shuttered dozens of dispensaries and will now boot the handful of centers that remain open.

The patients behind the suit claimed that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives them the federal right to use medical cannabis and that forcing dispensaries to close is a discriminatory practice. But the appeals court – upholding another court’s decision – ruled that the ADA doesn’t apply in this situation because marijuana is still illegal under federal laws.

“This ruling further solidifies the City’s stance that there is no place for stores which violate federal narcotics laws and city zoning regulations in our community,” Lake Forest City Manager Robert C. Dunek said in a press release issued after the ruling.

3 comments on “Ruling on Legality of California Dispensary Closures a Blow to Medical Marijuana Industry, MMJ Patients
  1. hmorgan on

    This is so disappointing! I am so disgusted at the discrimination that goes with this industry and with politicians for being bought by companies or whomever to keep re-pressing MMJ. I am hoping CO makes it legal in Nov!!!

    Reply
  2. CaliToNevada on

    It is SICKENING to do this to patients. We hurt no one, we aren’t corrupting children (that magic box that raises them instead of parents does that!). We just want to walk in, buy our meds and go home. We voted for it, its our right, NO ONE has authority to shove AMERICANS around. This is a flagrant betrayal of trust and abuse of power. LUDDITES! GET OUT OF OUR OFFICES! I just moved to Nevada and its even worse out here, but I’m bringing the SPIRIT OF SOCAL SB420 with me and I intend to vote with prejudice against any official who does not support my needs and rights as a citizen to designate which legislation is acceptable. If you are in Nevada reading this, WE NEED TO LEARN FROM CALI and VOTE VOTE VOTE! Rock that shit!

    Reply

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