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City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health & Wellness Ctr., Inc.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    California allows its citizens to use medical marijuana when the citizen has obtained a proper recommendation by a physician. Under the Medical Marijuana Program, the local government narrowed the immunity solely to qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    When a local ban is not a direct confliction with a state law, the local ban is not preempted nor declared null and void.

    Facts.

    Under the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (CUA), Californian’s have the right to obtain and use medical marijuana if a physician makes the proper recommendation, exempting him or her from criminal prosecution. Further, Under the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP), the legislature clarified the scope of the CUA and promoted “uniform and consistent application of the CUA amount the counties within the state.†The objectives of the MMP were limited and specific. Furthermore, the MMP states that a “[q]ualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of [such persons], who associate within the State of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions.

    Issue.

    Whether California’s medical marijuana statutes have preempted the local ban on facilities that distribute medical marijuana.

    Held.

    No, California’s medical marijuana statutes have not preempted the local ban on facilities that distribute medical marijuana.

    Discussion.

    The plain language of both the CUA and the MMP are not in conflict. The CUA does not mention anything in regards to medical marijuana cooperatives, collectives, or dispensaries. The MMP, however, does address the collective, cooperatives, or dispensaries of medical marijuana by specifying that only qualified patients, identification cardholders, an their designated primary caregivers are exempt from criminal prosecution. The MMP removes the broad right to obtain medical marijuana by narrowing the scope of the individuals that are exempt. Furthermore, the MMP solely indicates that the express conduct by the specified individuals listed in the statute will be not be deemed a nuisance.


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