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Marijuana Dispensary Ruling A 'Cliffhanger'


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
A major ruling on whether cities have the right to ban medical-marijuana dispensaries will have to wait until next month.

The California 4th District Court of Appeal is considering an appeal of Anaheim's ordinance that prohibits such dispensaries and makes it a crime to operate them.

The case could have wide-reaching impact: Dozens of cities are looking to Anaheim's case to establish whether municipalities can legally prohibit medical-marijuana dispensaries within their borders.

A decision was expected Monday — and eagerly awaited by attorneys and both sides. But the court posted on its website just after 1 p.m. that the written ruling is now set to be released Aug. 18.

No reason was immediately given by the court for the delay.

"This is a real cliffhanger," said Anthony Curiale, an attorney for the medical-marijuana patients. "It's very rare for the court to take more time than the 90 days."

Curiale said he learned that judges said that because of recently raised issues, they required additional time.

The decision has been a long time in coming — opening arguments were heard in September 2009.

The origins of the case date back to July 2007, when Anaheim unanimously approved its ordinance.

A group of medical-marijuana patients sued the city in Orange County Superior Court, but a judge dismissed that case. So the patients appealed to the state court, saying that the Anaheim ordinance was unfair to "qualified patients" and was counter to the state's Compassionate Use Act, approved by California voters in 1996.

Orange County cities that filed briefs in support of Anaheim's ordinance include: Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Tustin and Westminster.

Only one Orange County city — Laguna Woods — has approved medical-marijuana dispensaries.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: The Orange County Register
Contact: The Orange County Register
Copyright: 2010 Orange County Register Communications
Website: Marijuana dispensary ruling a 'cliffhanger'
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