In a much anticipated ruling, the California Supreme Court ruled that cities and counties may ban medical marijuana dispensaries. (City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, Inc., et al.) In a 7-0 decision, the Court held that local governments may use their land-use powers to zone out dispensaries.
This ruling leaves intact the at least 200 local ordinances that ban dispensaries and may bolster some cities' efforts to pass additional regulations. As a result, unless the Legislature intervenes, California marijuana laws will differ substantially across local jurisdictions. Accordingly, it is increasingly important for individuals interested in medicinal marijuana to stay actively engaged in local politics and up-to-date on local, state and federal marijuana laws.