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Cities and counties in California are considering the state’s Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana dispensaries a victory.
The City of Auburn’s position on medical marijuana dispensaries was at risk pending a decision of the California Supreme Court. On May 6, the Court decided the case of the City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health & Wellness Center, ruling that cities and counties may bar medical marijuana dispensaries using their zoning authority. Although California voters adopted Proposition 215 in 1996 to allow the ill to use marijuana, that measure simply protects those who use medical marijuana and their caregivers from criminal prosecution. The Medical Marijuana Policy Act adopted by the Legislature as Senate Bill 420 in 2003 provides some additional regulation of medical marijuana, but it did not limit local government’s zoning power except to require that dispensaries not be located within 600 feet of schools. Nevada County sheriff Keith Royal sees the decision as a victory for local governments.
Sheriff Royal says neighbors will now have protection from the law to prevent the nuisance of marijuana grows in their neighborhoods.
The Auburn City Council’s decision to not allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the City’s commercial areas is legal and will remain on the books. The Legislature continues to consider legislation regarding medical marijuana. In addition, an initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use (like recent successful ballot measures in Colorado and Washington) is also being discussed.