The California Supreme Court decided today to review two lower court rulings that would look again into the legality of regulating dispensaries in the state. During a weekly closed-door session, the judges decided unanimously to hear the cases that deal with dispensaries suits in Long Beach and Riverside. In the Long Beach case, an appeals court decided that the city’s rules they passed to regulate dispensaries there clashed with federal drug laws, so those rules were struck down. In the Riverside case, a different appeals court ruled that local governments do have the right to ban dispensaries, giving local opponents, mainly law enforcement, the go-ahead to shut down the dispensaries.
The cases will be of particular interest, because state wide decisions by the California Supreme court would impact areas like Oakland, where they have regulations that appear to be functioning without such opposition. Also, the recent involvement of the US Attorneys in closing down many dispensaries in Southern California may entertain dozens of federal law suits should the state rule favorably to the dispensary industry. There are already lawsuits pending in San Francisco challenging the actions of the US Attorneys in California. Many advocates were asking for the review of both these cases, so today’s news was hopeful. The Riverside ruling caused smaller local governments to ban dispensaries, something that restricts access for patients.