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Judges to decide whether pot dispensaries can be banned

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 4, 2013

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The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments Feb. 6 over whether counties have the authority to ban medical marijuana dispensaries where the clinics are legal.

The City of Riverside sued Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center in 2011 after the dispensary refused to shut down after a ban was enacted by the city. The clinic said the state’s voter-backed medical marijuana law allows for such dispensaries and that local jurisdictions are overstepping their constitutional limits by blocking them. An appeals court upheld the city’s ban, and the state Supreme Court accepted the case.

The high court’s decision will impact the nearly 200 California jurisdictions that have imposed similar bans. California is one of 16 states that have legalized medical marijuana. Many of the statutes have been subject to legal challenges asserting that state prerequisites for obtaining medical marijuana are too strict.

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