Mar 152012

Redding’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries doesn’t have court backing after a Shasta County Superior Court judge Wednesday denied the city’s request for an order for the storefronts to close.

Judge Stephen Baker denied the city’s request for the preliminary injunction that would have compelled the dispensaries to close. He said Redding can’t outright ban dispensaries by simply declaring them nuisances, Sean Longoria reports in the Record Searchlight.

His ruling relies heavily on the 4th District Court of Appeal decision in City of Lake Forest vs. Evergreen, a case that also weighed the legality of a California city’s attempt to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. That ruling was published Feb. 29 — two days after Baker heard arguments and took the local case under submission.

The appellate court in Lake Forest ruled the city violated state law with its attempt to ban dispensing medical marijuana by declaring the dispensaries nuisances. Lake Forest tried to label its dispensaries nuisances solely because of their existence and not because anything they were doing was illegal, the court ruled.

“Under the (Lake Forest’s) ban, a medical marijuana dispensary always constitutes a nuisance, though the Legislature has concluded otherwise,” a panel of judges said in the appellate ruling.

State law allows dispensaries to operate, provided the medical marijuana is grown on site, according to the ruling.

“The Lake Forest case is persuasive, and stands for the proposition that an outright ban that declares a dispensary a nuisance merely by virtue of its existence is impermissible,” Baker said in his ruling. “Also, there is no evidence here as to whether the dispensaries are violating any regulations, such as the requirement that dispensary activities be tied to a cultivation site.”

Officials in Lake Forest are asking the California Supreme Court to review the case, according to the Orange County Register.

The city could appeal the decision with a vote by from the City Council, which could happen as early as Tuesday’s meeting.

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