Beyond the Bubble: Suit Claiming That Closure of Pot Dispensaries Violates Disabilities Act is Dismissed

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr

Rachael Myrow here, host of the California Report, with an AM post from somewhere else in California. We’re in this Golden State together. Right?

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by disabled medical marijuana users against Costa Mesa and Lake Forest. The suit claimed the Orange County cities violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when they closed down pot dispensaries.

In the ruling, Judge Raymond Fisher wrote, “we recognize that the plaintiffs are gravely ill,” but “for now Congress has determined that, for purposes of federal law, marijuana is unacceptable for medical use.” According to the Los Angeles Times, a lawyer for the plaintiffs says he will ask a larger panel of the 9th Circuit to review the case [Marla James et al v. City of Costa Mesa, City of Lake Forest].

Just last week, the California Supreme Court agreed to review a Court of Appeals decision regarding medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation. In that case , the Appeals Court ruled in favor of Evergreen Holistic, a former Lake Forest medical marijuana collective, finding that cities cannot shut down a medical marijuana dispensary that cultivates its own marijuana. The judges said a collective that includes a dispensary function — growing its own pot — does not constitute a nuisance. The ruling is the latest in a string of cases that attempts to interpret the state’s medical marijuana law for the benefit of cities and counties. [City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen Holistic Collective]

Confused? I feel like The California Report needs a large whiteboard to keep track of all the disparate issues and rulings moving through the courts.

It would appear we need to deliver a sequel to Republic of Cannabis, our special co-production with the Center for Investigative Reporting earlier this year.  Republic of Cannabis II: Twisted & Tied?


Rachael Myrow

From KQED’s Bureau in San Jose, Rachael Myrow covers politics, economics, technology, food and culture in a vast region extending from Burlingame to Edenvale to Fremont. This follows more than seven years waking at 3 am to host the daily version of KQED's California Report, broadcast on NPR affiliates throughout the state during NPR's Morning Edition. She still guest hosts for The California Report and Forum, blogs for Bay Area Bites, and files for NPR and PRI’s The World. Before KQED, she worked for Marketplace and KPCC in Los Angeles.

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