California high court deals blow to marijuana dealers

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California’s highest court struck a blow to medical marijuana sellers on Monday, ruling that local governments can ban dispensaries in their jurisdictions.

The state’s Supreme Court said the California constitution allows that county boards have zoning and land-use authority to dictate where — and if — pot salesmen can set up shop in the area. It’s legal, the court ruled, for governments to declare such businesses “public nuisance[s]” and give them the boot, Raw Story reported.

Specifically, justices wrote that state marijuana laws “merely declare that the conduct they describe cannot lead to arrest or conviction, or be abated as a nuisance, as violations of enumerated provisions of the Health and Safety Code. Nothing … limits the inherent authority of a local jurisdiction, by its own ordinances, to regulate the use of its land, including the authority to provide that facilities for the distribution of medical marijuana will not be permitted to operate within its borders.”

The court ruling stemmed from the case, City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center, Raw Story reported. In that case, Riverside government officials booted the center’s medical marijuana dispensary — and the high court decision upheld their right to do that.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have popped up in California with increasing frequency since 2009, when they were legalized.

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