Orange County Court Upholds Anaheim Dispensary Ban

Cal NORML Release

Aug. 15th, 2011 – Orange Co. Superior Court Judge David Chaffee ruled that the city of Anaheim may legally prohibit medical cannabis dispensaries. This is the second hearing of the case Anaheim vs Qualified Patients’ Association, which was remanded to the lower court by the Appellate Court last year.

The court ruled that Anaheim’s ban on dispensaries is a valid exercise of general local police powers and is not pre-empted by Prop 215 or SB 420. The decision concedes that SB 420 protects patients and caregivers engaged in collective cultivation, but that protection is limited to the activity of cultivation, not distribution. The decision cites a litany of case law giving local government expansive powers of regulation for nuisance abatement

The court’s decision is not binding and faces appeal. Nonetheless, it points to a major weakness in California’s current marijuana laws, namely the failure to clearly establish a legal distribution system.

It is Cal NORML’s view that the state’s medical marijuana laws need to be fixed so as to ensure that patients everywhere in the state have the same legal access to marijuana as they do to other pharmaceutical drugs. There need to be firm rules and regulations to license and legitimize the distribution, production, and processing of medical marijuana, with local governments retaining power to regulate, but not ban distribution.

With this in mind, Cal NORML is actively pursuing efforts to reform the state’s marijuana laws so as to fulfill Proposition 215’s mandate for a “safe and affordable” distribution system, most immediately by way of a 2012 ballot initiative or, failing that, future legislation. For further information about supporting these efforts, contact CalNORML.

Read the Superior Court ruling

– D. Gieringer, Director, Cal NORML

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