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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oakland Joins S.F. in Battle to Preserve Medical Marijuana Laws

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge Oakland joins the pot party
  • Oakland joins the pot party

Oakland isn't letting San Francisco fight for medical marijuana alone. The East Bay city announced it would join other California cities in the pivotal fight to defend the rights of local governments and their ability to regulate pot clubs.

Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker, on behalf of the City of Oakland, joined an amicus brief that asks the state Supreme Court to reverse the lower court's decision in Pack v. City of Long Beach, which threatens medical dispensaries everywhere.

As we reported earlier, the brief argues that local governments can legally regulate and permit medical pot clubs, and that those regulations are not preempted by federal law.

"What's at stake in this case is much more than just Long Beach's

ordinance. If the court prohibits local medical cannabis regulations, it

will effectively cut the heart out of the 1996 Compassionate Use Act," Parker states.

In 2004, Oakland legalized medical cannabis dispensaries, allowing the city to limit the number of dispensaries, require operator background checks, and conduct financial and operational audits.

In 2010, Long Beach adopted an ordinance similar to Oakland's to regulate medical marijuana collectives there. However, after failing to get a permit via the lottery system, two would-be pot clubs sued, saying that the Long Beach ordinance was illegal and preempted by federal law.

Last October, the an Appeals Court struck down Long Beach's ordinance, claiming it was preempted by federal Controlled Substances Act, which does not permit the distribution or sale of any cannabis.

The city of Long Beach has appealed the Pack decision to the California Supreme Court.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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