The Fourth District Court of Appeal in Riverside, California has ruled in favor of the City of Riverside, upholding its right to enforce a citywide ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. The case stems from a threatened closure of one dispensary in particular, and marijuana advocacy lawyers have been fighting the city's ban, which it established in 2009. Riverside is one of a number of Southern California cities which assume a sort of Reefer Madness-esque panic over the pot boom, despite the state of California's overall position of "What's your deal, man? Just chill."

The city of Riverside attempted to shut down the Inland Empire Patients' Health and Wellness Center back in May 2010, but the dispensary has remained open pending this appeal. Looks like they will be shuttering shortly, unless they plan to take this all the way to the Supreme Court. The decision meanwhile could have immediate fallout for dispensaries all over the state.

Writing for the majority, Justice Carol Codrington wrote that the California medical marijuana laws "do not provide individuals with inalienable rights to establish, operate or use" dispensaries, nor do they state that dispensaries "shall be permitted within every city and county." This ruling will of course bolster the efforts of the Justice Department, which stated that one of their targets in their new medical marijuana crackdown, especially in Southern California, would be communities where dispensaries had been unwelcome.

[LA Times]

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