Pot Shot: Patients Sue to Stop L.A. Marijuana Dispensary Ban

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 23, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary is facing a fight from medical marijuana advocates.

In July, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Ordinance 182190. The ordinance prohibits “medical marijuana businesses, while preserving the limited state law medical marijuana criminal immunities, until such time as the California Supreme Court rules regarding what cities can and cannot regulate and the City enacts new medical marijuana legislation consistent with that judicial guidance.” The ordinance is set to become effective on September 6.

The Patient Care Alliance, a medical marijuana trade group, sued the city of Los Angeles last Friday, seeking to stop officials from enforcing the ban, which would shut down more than 1,000 pot dispensaries, reports NBC Southern California. The lawsuit was filed only days after the city sent letters to medical marijuana dispensaries, warning them that continued operations could results in court-ordered closure, fines, jail.

According to the letter, "Each day that the property is used in violation of City law is a separate violation."

The Patient Care Alliance, however, argues that the city can't ban the pot dispensaries. The lawsuit alleges that the state's Compassionate Use Act pre-empts the city's ban on dispensaries, the LA law violates dispensary owners' due process rights, and the new law violates patients' constitutional freedom to associate and assemble for purposes of cultivating medical pot.

The lawsuit should be enough to prompt a court to stay the L.A. ordinance until the California Supreme Court can consider the matter.

In January, the California Supreme Court unanimously voted to review three medical marijuana cases involving local ordinances that limit or ban marijuana dispensaries. The cases are:

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