City’s Medical Marijuana Ban Upheld by Appellate Court
2016-07-19 · By Editor
On Tuesday July 12, 2016, the Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s order dismissing a class-action lawsuit brought by two Medical Marijuana dispensaries, challenging the City’s ordinance banning medical marijuana facilities within the City.
In a 43-page complaint filed by local attorney Matthew Pappas, the dispensaries alleged that the patient class members suffered from physical or mental disabilities, serious illnesses or permanent injuries, and that the Americans with Disabilities Act entitled each of them to medical marijuana. Consequently, the City’s ordinance, Long Beach Mun. Code § 5.98, illegally prevented these patients from receiving medical marijuana.
The plaintiffs also alleged that dispensaries operating before the ban had certain vested property rights, which the City infringed upon in violation of the 5th Amendment when it established the medical marijuana ban. Finally, the plaintiffs’ claimed that the City interfered with established dispensaries, and violated federal or state laws, by threats, intimidation, or coercion.
On appeal, the plaintiffs devoted much their argument to their assertion that the city ordinance regulating, and then banning medical marijuana dispensaries, discriminated against persons with disabilities. The Court of Appeal rejected all of their claims.
The Court of Appeal based its decision on the ground that the California statutes establishing the personal use of medical marijuana did not also establish substantive rights to establish dispensaries. The court stated that “simply put, there is no federal or state law granting plaintiffs the right to lease property to operate a marijuana collective, so defendants could not have interfered with any such right.”
The case is entitled The Kind and Compassionate et al. v, City of Long Beach, Case No. B258806. The briefing of the case was handled by Deputy City Attorney Ted Zinger.