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Cannabis Delivery Case Dismissed by California Judge

— December 2, 2020

Case filed by 24 Californian cities regarding pot delivery practices is struck down.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosemary McGuire has dismissed a lawsuit brought by two dozen Californian cities attempting to overturn state regulations allowing the home delivery of cannabis in areas which have made shop sales illegal.  Judge McGuire agreed with attorneys for the state Bureau of Cannabis Control writing, “The state regulation does not prevent cities from enforcing local ordinances restricting home delivery.  On the basis of that conclusion, the court finds that this matter is not ripe for adjudication and dismisses the action as to all plaintiffs.”

The lawsuit had stated, “The state regulation allowing delivery everywhere in the state violates a promise of Proposition 64.  The ballot measure promised that local governments would have veto power over the sale of cannabis in their jurisdictions.”

On November 8, 2016, California voters passed the proposition, which also known as The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.  It allows adults 21 years old and over to possess and grow certain amounts marijuana for recreational use.  The regulation adopted by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control “directly conflicts with local autonomy,” alleged J. Scott Miller, an attorney for the cities.

Cannabis Delivery Case Dismissed by California Judge
Photo by David Gabric on Unsplash

The Bureau of Cannabis Control chief Lori Ajax cited a provision that “a local jurisdiction shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads” by a state licensee.  Steve Churchwell retorted that “delivery vans using public roads can’t stop and have a person walk up to the front door of a home to provide cannabis to a purchaser.”

The state attorney general’s office defended the directive allowing state-licensed cannabis distributors to deliver throughout California, stating it is legal.  Deputy Attorney Gen. Ethan Turner argued, “Cities can still require firms that deliver in their jurisdiction to get a business license from the city and obey local ordinances.”

Churchwell responded, “We agreed with the [state] Legislative Analyst that it allowed delivery through the jurisdiction and not a delivery to a physical address, which this regulation allows.”

Eighty percent of California’s cities still do not allow for the sale of marijuana for recreational use.  The products have been taxes significantly and strict rules have limited the effect of Proposition 64 passage.  However, earlier this year, Judge Charles Smiley of Alameda County Superior Court signed an order reducing felony marijuana charges to misdemeanors and misdemeanor marijuana charges to infractions, indicating a push in the direction of limiting legal action against possession and use.

Scott Chipman, vice president of Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana, said, “Voters were promised and expected local control and they should have it, especially on deliveries from outside their cities.  If the state wants to take away local control, they need to have the voters vote again.”

Miller, the attorney for the local government added, “This invasion of local governments’ lawmaking authority is the cognizable injury and suffices to establish standing and a ripe controversy.”


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