Second lawsuit filed over California marijuana delivery rule

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A licensed California cannabis company sued Santa Cruz County, claiming the governmental body is violating state law by prohibiting deliveries from out-of-county retailers into a swath of unincorporated areas.

The East of Eden Cannabis Co. lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Santa Cruz County is the latest development in a thorny legal fight over who decides where marijuana can be delivered in California.

In court papers, the company said the county threatened to initiate a criminal investigation and sought to have its state license revoked if it continued to make deliveries into unincorporated areas.

According to the lawsuit, the county’s actions are “in direct violation of state law permitting East of Eden to make deliveries into any jurisdiction in California.”

The company, based in neighboring Monterey County, asked the court to allow it to resume deliveries and declare Santa Cruz County’s rules “void and unenforceable.”

In January, regulators endorsed a rule that allows home marijuana deliveries statewide, even into communities that have banned commercial pot sales. The rule was first adopted by regulators last summer.

But Beverly Hills, Santa Cruz County and about two dozen other local governments have sued the state to overturn that rule.

The League of California Cities and police chiefs have complained that unrestricted home deliveries create an unchecked market of largely hidden cannabis transactions, while undercutting local control guaranteed in a 2016 state law that broadly legalized marijuana sales.

– Associated Press