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Riverside banning medical marijuana dispensaries

Dec 5, 2011

A California Court of Appeal recently upheld a Riverside zoning ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries even though state law authorizes such dispensaries pursuant to its Compassionate Use Act and its Medical Marijuana Program.  In City of Riverside v. Inland Empire’s Patient’s Health and Wellness Center, Inc., 2011 S.O.S. 6077, the Fourth Appellate District held that state law did not preempt Riverside’s ban because the ordinance “does not duplicate, contradict, or occupy” state law and the Legislature did not “expressly prohibit cities” from enacting such zoning regulations.  

Stephen Jamieson, partner at Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson commented, “Owners of dispensaries, their customers, and medical marijuana advocates in general constitute an association of like-minded people who value marijuana’s ability to alleviate the pain and suffering associated with so many diseases and medical issues.  This decision very well may infringe upon their First Amendment right to associate freely under both the federal and state constitutions.  Medical marijuana proponents may want to evaluate the potential illegality of this decision from a First Amendment angle.” 



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