Group Sues East Bay City for Banning Pot Clubs

Group Sues East Bay City for Banning Pot Clubs
Posted by CN Staff on October 06, 2005 at 09:32:13 PT
By Josh Richman, Staff Writer
Source: Oakland Tribune
California -- An Oakland-based advocacy group is suing three California cities, including one in the East Bay, for banning medical marijuana dispensaries within their borders. Concord, Pasadena and Susanville have no right to exclude activity permitted by state law, according to the suits filed by Americans for Safe Access and people who had tried to open dispensaries in those cities.
"The biggest hole in the Compassionate Use Act was in not describing the distribution method by which those who need marijuana are able to legally access their medicine," ASA chief counsel Joe Elford said in a news release. But a state law passed in 2003 legitimized collectives and cooperatives that distribute marijuana to patients with doctors' recommendations, he said. "Cities are beholden to both state law and the well-being of their citizens." In the Concord case, Stephen DeAngelo  a patient who uses medical marijuana for chronic back pain from degenerative disc disease  sought permission this summer from the city's Planning Commission to open a collective dispensary in that city. But the Concord City Council on Sept. 27 enacted an ordinance stating that dispensaries are "prohibited in all zones and no conditional use permit shall be issued therefore." The lawsuit claims this forces DeAngelo and other patients to turn to the black market to obtain the medicine they need, and it asks the court to void the city ordinance. ASA's news release says patients sometimes can drive to other cities where dispensaries have been allowed. But while there are more than 120 such dispensaries, they are not distributed evenly around the state; ASA says it is a seven-hour drive from Susanville, in distant Lassen County, to the nearest dispensary. "We hope this litigation will help local officials realize that permanent bans are unacceptable not just legally but morally, since they punish the sick and suffering in their communities who mainly rely on dispensaries," ASA legal campaign director Kris Hermes said in the release. ASA is willing to help cities and counties create reasonable regulations, he said, and will be distributing information to officials at the League of California Cities annual conference that began Wednesday and runs through Saturday at San Francisco's Moscone Center. The three lawsuits follow one ASA filed against Fresno in April; the next hearing in that case is scheduled for Nov. 4. And these could be a prelude to more litigation. At least 13 California localities  including those sued so far as well as San Rafael  have permanently banned dispensaries, while at least 56  including almost 20 in the Bay Area  have enacted moratoriums on permitting new ones while officials consider their policies. But 21 cities and counties have ordinances permitting and regulating dispensaries; Oakland's came first early last year, and Berkeley, Hayward, Ripon and San Jose have them, too. Alameda County adopted an ordinance this summer and now is revising it. Note: Suit says Concord is trampling on California law, well-being of citizens.Complete Title: Group Sues East Bay City, Others for Banning Pot ClubsSource: Oakland Tribune (CA)Author: Josh Richman, Staff WriterPublished: October 6, 2005Copyright: 2005 MediaNews Group, Inc. Contact: triblet Website: Articles & Web Site:Americans For Safe Access 3 Apply for Pot Clinic Permits Clinic Hopefuls Call Applications Too Invasive
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 08, 2005 at 10:23:37 PT
News Article from Counter Punch
Does the Controlled Substances Act Mean What It Says?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 06, 2005 at 16:33:55 PT
Related Article from The Associated Press
Advocacy Group Challenges Pot Club BansOctober 6, 2005SAN FRANCISCO - A patient advocacy group on Thursday filed lawsuits against three California cities, charging that bans on medical marijuana illegally restrict the rights of patients and their doctors.The suits by Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access follow a similar lawsuit the organization filed against Fresno this April challenging that city's clinic ban."These bans clearly conflict with state law," said Joe Alfred, the group's lead attorney.The suits against Concord, Pasadena and Susanville charge that the bans have forced patients to drive to other, often remote cities to obtain medical marijuana.The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that a federal ban on marijuana trumps any state laws allowing its use, including California's Proposition 215, which permits marijuana use for medical purposes.Since then, numerous California localities have shuttered marijuana clinics and even politically liberal San Francisco politicians have called for a moratorium on new marijuana clinics."We hope this litigation will help local officials realize that permanent bans are unacceptable not just legally but morally, since they punish the sick and suffering in their communities who mainly rely on dispensaries," ASA Legal Campaign Director Kris Hermes said Thursday.ON THE NETAmericans for Safe Access: http://www.safeaccessnow.orgCopyright: 2005 Associated Press
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Comment #1 posted by siege on October 06, 2005 at 12:00:51 PT
sorry for being the donkey on this one.
Well what is the shrub waiting for I though by know he would have sent IN the team of drug czar and the Attorney General to spend or tax dollars on bad service again, to stop this law suit, or is he just an on looker at this time and then take it to the SC... and say that the Fed trumps the state laws...
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