City of Lake Forest's Petition for Supreme Court Review of Court of Appeal Decision Regarding Shuttered Marijuana Stores Granted

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California Supreme Court de-publishes March 2012 appellate decision on Medical Marijuana

We have worked hard to rid the community of illegal marijuana stores...this is an issue of local public safety and the City’s right to enforce its zoning laws -- Lake Forest City Manager Robert C. Dunek.

On May 16,2012, the California Supreme Court granted a petition by the City of Lake Forest to have the Court review a highly controversial Court of Appeal decision on marijuana dispensaries. By granting the City of Lake Forest's petition, the California Supreme Court de-published the appellate decision, thereby deeming it no longer usable by any California court. (CA Supreme Court Case S201454, Appellate CaseG043909)

The decision, City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen, was the first and only published appellate decision to prevent cities and counties from exercising their constitutional authority to protect public safety by banning marijuana dispensaries.

In March of 2012, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District issued a decision regarding an appeal of a May 2010 Orange County Superior Court Order to close eleven marijuana stores operating illegally in Lake Forest. The Court of Appeal remanded a preliminary order closing the now defunct marijuana stores to the Superior Court for a determination of whether the dispensaries were operated in conjunction with the cultivation of marijuana. The Court of Appeal had found “no intent in California’s Medical Marijuana Program Act (the “MMPA”) to authorize dispensaries to operate independently from a cultivation site.” The Court of Appeal also found that the State MMPA left no room for city regulation of dispensaries linked to cultivation. Under this ruling, the trial court could have applied city zoning prohibitions, except where a marijuana store grew all of its marijuana onsite.

Through their actions, the California Supreme Court deferred further action in the Evergreen matter pending its consideration and disposition of related issues in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center, Inc., et al. S198638. The California Supreme Court had earlier decided to examine the extent of municipal authority to regulate marijuana dispensaries in those other cases.

"We are very pleased that the California Supreme Court agreed with the City of Lake Forest and will be providing much needed guidance in this ever-changing area of law. We are hopeful the Supreme Court will hear the applicable cases in early 2013,” said Jeffrey V. Dunn, Lake Forest’s litigation attorney. “We have worked hard to rid the community of illegal marijuana stores,” said City Manager Robert C. Dunek. “The City has consistently viewed this matter as an issue of local public safety and the City’s right to enforce its zoning laws on behalf of the people of Lake Forest.”

The City has taken no position relative to the use of marijuana for personal medical use by seriously ill individuals where the medical use is deemed appropriate by a physician.

The City of Lake Forest, California, is a suburban community of 78,000 located in south Orange County. Police Services are provided, via contract, by the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

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