California Appeals Court: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries are Legal
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California Appeals Court: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries are Legal

The 2nd District Court of Appeal in California issued a landmark decision affirming the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries under state law, and rejected bans imposed by municipalities.

The Second District Court of Appeal in California issued a landmark decision yesterday in County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective (AMCC), which affirmed the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries under state law, and rejected bans imposed by municipalities.

In particular, the AMCC court held that Los Angeles County’s “complete ban” on medical marijuana is “preempted” by state law and, therefore, void. The AMCC decision reverses a preliminary junction granted to the County by the Los Angeles Superior Court in May 2011.

On the issue of whether dispensaries are legal under state law, the AMCC court ruled that, “[T]he repeated use of the term ‘dispensary’ throughout [Health and Safety Code section 11362.768] and the reference in subdivision (e) to a ‘storefront or mobile retail outlet’ make it abundantly clear that the medical marijuana collectives authorized by section 11362.775 are permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function.” The AMCC further held that, “[Los Angeles] County’s total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature’s intent,” and called that contradiction “direct, patent, obvious, and palpable.”

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