Court prohibits municipalities from using Pack v. City of Long Beach to ban dispensaries

The California Supreme Court has voided an appellate court ruling some municipalities had used as the basis for banning medical cannabis dispensaries.

The Court threw out the controversial decision in Pack v. City of Long Beach, which previously held that federal law preempted some forms of dispensary regulations. The California Supreme Court voided the appellate decision as moot because the Long Beach City Council had replaced the original contested ordinance with an outright ban on dispensaries and abandoned their federal preemption argument.

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“The Court has pulled out the rug from under local officials who have used the Packdecision to deny access to thousands of qualified patients across the state,” said Joe Elford, ASA Chief Counsel. “Pack is now a dead letter and, because of the California Rules of Court (Rule 8.528), it is disingenuous for any public official to contend that the Court of Appeal decision is somehow reinstated.”

The Pack decision has been used by several municipalities, including Los Angeles, to suspend or ban the distribution of medical cannabis.

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Several other cases concerning medical cannabis distribution remain before the state Supreme Court, including one in which ASA has filed an amicus brief arguing that local governments cannot ban dispensaries that state law permits.

More information:
Supreme Court dismissal in Pack case
ASA amicus brief in Riverside case