The people of Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly to allow the medicinal use of Marijuana on Tuesday, making it the 18th state to do so. Several other states have medical marijuana laws pending in the state legislature.
On October 24, 2012, the Fourth District Court of Appeal for California issued a ruling confirming that medical marijuana collectives are legal in California, and that member are permitted to exchange money for medicine without participating in the collective's business in any other way. This is a big win for patients, who are constantly being arrested and accused of violating Califonria Law for doing the exact things the Court has not declared to be legal.
The Oakland City Attorney recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag in federal court in Oakland seeking to stop the federal government from seizing property recently occupied by Harborside Health Clinic.
As many of you know, Harborside, which operates in Oakland and San Jose, is one of California's largest and most politically high-profile medical marijuana collectives. Because of this, it has continually parried efforts by the federal government to crack down on its operations.
Palo Alto, CA, home to Stanford University and the heart of Silicon Valley, has decided to leave it to the voters to decide if the city should allow medical marijuana dispensaries within their city. There is currently a ban put in place by the City Council, so that residents with cancer and other serious medical conditions must drive to San Jose, Oakland, or San Francisco to get their medicine. This is despite the fact that Palo Alto voted to pass proposition 215 by a margin of 3-1 back in 1996.
Two days ago I posted how dark it was looking for medical marijuana in California. Today, the tide may have started shifting. The California Supreme Court decided to review decisions by lower courts that made it difficult for medical marijuana collectives to operate. By granting review, the Supreme Court temporarily nullified the decisions, causing then to have no effect until he issue is decided by the Supreme Court. The result - cities and counties my begin allowing collectives to open again. Now if we could just do something about federal interference with states rights.
It's been a tough few months for medical marijuana patients in California. Cities and counties seem to be using recent court rulings as excuses to ban medical marijuana collectives in their communities. In addition, the US Attorney's office has been meddling more in local affairs by threatening to take the property of any landlord that rents space to a medical marijuana collective. As a result, access to safe medicine has been shrinking every day with no sign of letting up.
Butte tried closing down the last operating collective in the county by citing its employees for violating its zoning laws by allowing or causing a collective to operate. We took the case to trial and lost, but appealed the case and won. The cases against all defendants were dismissed, and the court held on appeal that individuals working for the collective (corporation) were not individually liable for its actions. Congratulations to North Valley Holistic Health, its staff, and its patients.
In the Courts:
This has not been a good month for medical marijuana advocates. One appellate court ruled that cities and counties in California have the right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. This ruling is a published opinion (binding) but will be appealed [Riverside case]. In another case, the Court ruled that Cities and Counties that give permits to medical marijuana collectives are violating state law [Long Beach case].
In the Cities and Counties: