A case involving a Temecula medical marijuana dispensary will be reviewed by the California Supreme Court.
The state’s high court agreed Dec. 12 to review City of Temecula v. Cooperative Patients Services, Inc.; however, action on the case was deferred pending the court’s consideration of a related case—City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center, Inc.—or further order of the court, case records showed.
In March, Cooperative Patients Services was operating at its last reported location on Via Dos Picos in Temecula when it was raided by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Whether cities and similar jurisdictions have authority to ban dispensaries in California—where the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions is legal—is an ongoing argument.
The city’s ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries from operating was established in 2006.
The city and Cooperative Patients Services have been embroiled in a court battle since 2011. On Oct. 9, three justices assigned to the Fourth Appellate District Court, Division Two in Riverside came to a 2-1 opinion in favor of the city. The opinion followed the appeal of the city’s injunction against the dispensary.
Cooperative Patients Services applied for and was issued a city of Temecula business license based on its “statement of operations that accompanied its application...[in which it] stated it runs a ―Therapeutic Cannabis (Medical Marijuana) Patients‘ Resource Center,” the opinion of justices Thomas E. Hollenhorst and Manuel A. Ramirez stated.
“Temecula issued a business license, which expired on January 31, 2011. The business license stated, ―Medical marijuana dispensaries are not permitted by the Temecula Municipal Code. Nothing in this business license is intended nor shall it be construed to authorize a medical marijuana dispensary or any other use or action that violates any provision of the Temecula Municipal Code,” the justices wrote.
Justice Jeffrey King gave a differing view.
“I disagree with the conclusion reached by the majority,” King wrote. “I would conclude that while a municipality may restrict and regulate the location and establishment of a medical marijuana dispensary, it may not totally ban or prohibit the dispensary’s presence based solely on its status as a dispensary.”
In November, the attorney representing Cooperative Patients Services filed for a review of the case by the state Supreme Court. The review was approved, while attorney J. David Nick’s request for a stay on the injunction barring the dispensary from operating was denied.