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City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center

J David Nick is the primary attorney for the Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center. On February 5th 2013, the California Supreme Court will hold a special session at the San Francisco School of Law. The first case on the docket will be oral arguments in the City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center.

This is one of the most important cases to date for the California medical cannabis movement. Mr Nick has stated, “the court’s decision is going to determine the future of medical marijuana outlets throughout California. State law cannot be contradicted by local municipalities.”

Anti-cannabis forces insist the federal law supersedes anything decided by an individual state, and they claim cities have the right to ban medical marijuana outlets.

In 2011, Appellate court Judge Carol Codrington upheld Riverside’s ban on medical marijuana outlets writing, “The [Compassionate Use Act] and [California’s Medical Cannabis Program] do not provide individuals with inalienable rights to establish, operate or use [Medical Cannabis outlets]. The state statutes do not preclude local governments from regulating [Medical Cannabis outlets] through zoning ordinances.”

Inland Empire immediately appealed. In January of 2012, the Supreme Court announced it would take the case.

The bans that over 170 California localities have imposed on cannabis outlets will likely vanish If the Supreme Court overturns the lower court’s decision.

Riverside City Attorney Greg Priamos said in a statement, “We anticipate that the decision will resolve the inconsistent appellate court decisions as to a local entity’s land use power to ban dispensaries under its zoning code,”

With oral arguments in the Riverside case beginning on February 5th, a decision could be reached as early as this spring.

Resources:

  • Supreme Court Of California – Oral Argument Calendar – Special Session — University Of San Francisco School Of Law – February 5, 2013 – Link
  • University Of San Francisco School Of Law – February 5, 2013 Event – Link

Other Articles:

  • Press-Enterprise 01/09/2013: MEDICAL MARIJUANA: State Supreme Court to review Riverside case – Link
  • LA Weekly 01/11/2013: Marijuana Dispensary Bans On Trial In Calif. Supreme Court Case To Be Heard Feb. 5 – Link
  • Daily News LA 01/15/2013: Long Beach awaits California Supreme court rulings on pot shop bans – Link
  • HUFF POST 01/16/2013: California Medical Marijuana Heads To State Supreme Court: City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center – Link

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