Dispensaries across the Nation have been dealing with the federal government's relatively recent decision to crack down on marijuana dispensaries. However, for California medical marijuana dispensaries at least, fear of federal action is not the sole cause for concern.
Many dispensaries have been banned or otherwise kept out of counties and municipalities for a variety of legal reasons.
Then, a three judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that these types of bans, specifically the case dealt with Los Angeles County's ban, is preempted by state law, meaning that the ban cannot stand.
"Los Angeles County's total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the legislature's intent,'' Justice Robert Mallano wrote in the 19-page unanimous decision. The lawsuit was initiated because a dispensary was attempting to operate within the county's parameters, but was unable to do so. You can read more about the particulars of the parties to the lawsuit in this article.
Preemption generally requires that the incorporated areas within the larger governing body must comply with the laws of the larger body. Thus, while in this case the court ruled that the county must not contradict the state law, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that federal law is the supreme law of the land, meaning that states must comply with federal law. This is a source for a major constitutional headache, in that because marijuana is not legal federally, California state law is technically not in compliance with federal policies.
Thus, even though the county's action in this case is preempted by state law, it remains to be seen how this scenario might play out in a federal court. For how can a city be preempted by state law, yet in compliance with federal law? It will be interesting to see what happens next.
You can also find more LawInfo resources regarding marijuana here.
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