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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.


  • 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


People v. Zachariah Rutledge, Sonoma County 2006, Mr. Nick’s client was falsely accused with 2 counts of murder, after Mr. Nick established the primary forensic evidence in the case was fraudulently manufactured the prosecution nevertheless pressed forward with the case. The Jury trial Result was Not Guilty on all counts. See,
People v. D. Griffin, Inyo County 2012, possession of controlled substance, Jury trial Result: Not Guilty
People v. D. Paul, San Luis Obispo County 2011, possession of controlled substance with intent to sell, Jury trial Result: Not Guilty.
People v. G. Kuburovich, Santa Clara County 2016, possession of controlled substance with intent to sell, conspiracy, money laundering, Jury trial Result: Not Guilty.
In Re A. Luster, defendant incarcerated with lengthy sentence (124 years), in 2010 Mr. Nick’s Habeas Corpus Petition to 2nd District Court of Appeal results in an Order to Show Cause being issued and hearing ordered; After a state habeas hearing the petitioner was resentenced to 50 years) The case is currently pending further appeals in the United States District Court.
City of Riverside v. IEPHWC 2011, Mr. Nick’s “petition for review” was granted by the California Supreme Court; the court eventually held that local government bans of medical marijuana collectives are not prohibited under California law. Mr. Nick advocates that aspects of Proposition 64 have modified this ruling.
Los Angeles County v. AMCC, 2nd District Court of Appeal strikes down total ban of medical marijuana collectives (the California Supreme Court eventually reversed this holding in another case argued by Mr. Nick before the California Supreme Court in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health & Wellness Center.) Since 2008 Mr. Nick has litigated within the Coachella Valley community numerous medical marijuana business permitting and zoning cases.

Baldwin v. Placer County, 405 F.3d 778 (9th Cir 2005), is an important civil rights federal appellate court decision which was litigated and argued by Mr. Nick before the United States Court of Appeal in San Francisco; The county argued that officers could have believed that the emergency nature of the entry into the home justified the batteries on Mr. Nick’s client. However, the appellate court found that there was no emergency. Mr. Nick’s client was a practicing dentist. The court of appeal found that nothing indicated that the officers had reason to believe Mr. Nick’s client would resist or flee. The officers had stated no belief that the injured parties would be armed, and they mentioned no criminal history or conspiracy that could have justified such a belief. Also, the officers had no reason not to identify themselves before giving orders to Mr. Nick’s client. Thus, the court of appeal determined the officers violated the civil right of the injured parties to be free from battery by gun-wielding officers. Additionally, the court of appeal determined that one officer’s actions in placing his fingers at the throat of the wife constituted a separate battery that a reasonable officer would have known was excessive. The court of appeal found that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity and their motion to dismiss the case was properly denied by the federal district court. The court of appeal additionally found that Mr. Nick’s client established his civil rights were violated by the police presentation of a false affidavit in support of a search warrant. Thus, qualified immunity was properly denied.

B.C. v. Plumas Unified Sch. Dist., 192 F.3d 1260 (9th Cir 2005); Mr. Nick’s client through his legal guardian, brought a federal civil rights suit against the high school attended by the child. Mr. Nick’s client was a student when he and others were told to exit their classrooms and were told to pass by a drug-sniffing dog. No drugs were found. The court of appeal ruled that a search had occurred through the dog-sniff, that the sniff was highly intrusive, and that under the circumstances, the search was unreasonable.
Mr. Nick has handled complex Federal criminal cases in all the Federal district courts within California including conspiracy to distribute narcotics, money laundering, tax code violations and public official corruption, and has handled federal criminal cases throughout the United States.
Visit personally with J. David Nick at either his San Francisco or Palm Springs offices and see for yourself why he is effective in the representation of all his clients.