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Ruggles v. Yagong

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiffs contend that the prosecutor erred in prosecuting cases involving cannabis when the amount processed or grown is less than twenty-four plants or the dried equivalent of twenty-four ounces.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    When a state law is in conflict with a city ordinance, the state law preempts the ordinance.

    Facts.

    Plaintiffs, a group of citizens, initiated this action against the prosecutors and the police for violating the “Lowest Law Enforcement Priority of Cannabis†(LLEP) Code when the prosecutor continued to prosecute cannabis when the amount processed or grown is less than twenty-four plants or the dried equivalent of twenty-four ounces.

    Issue.

    Whether Hawai’I County Code, under Article 16, Chapter 14, titled LLEP, is preempted by state law.

    Held.

    Yes, the Hawai’I County Code, under Article 16, Chapter 14, titled LLEP, is preempted by state law.

    Discussion.

    The LLEP conflicts with the state law because the state law requires prosecutors and the attorney general to prosecute cases with diligence. The LLEP indicates that officers must act with the lowest priority for prosecute cannabis possessions when the amount processed or grown is less than twenty-four plants or the dried equivalent of twenty-four ounces. By its very nature, treating a certain crime with lower priority, is in conflict with pursing every crime with due diligence. Therefore, the Hawai’I County Code, under Article 16, Chapter 14, titled LLEP, is preempted by state law.



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