In the first decision of its kind in California, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the retail sale of marijuana is not permitted under California state law. According to an LA Weekly article, the case was brought against a medical marijuana dispensary that the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office said was targeted because its product was found to have traces of pesticide. The marijuana dispensary was ordered to temporarily shut down. The ruling also stipulated that medical marijuana providers must comply with the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act which requires particular testing, labeling, warnings and product information to be provided to patients.
The California legal system’s treatment of marijuana use and cultivation derives primarily from the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (California Health & Safety Code Section 11357-11362.9), which provides protections from existing federal or state laws criminalizing marijuana use and cultivation for “seriously ill” Californians using the drug for medicinal purposes. The language of the legislation was left intentionally vague so as to allow regional authorities to make reasonable determinations about how to implement the marijuana law.
In an effort to dissuade the excessive and sometimes illegitimate retail sale of marijuana in Los Angeles, the City Council has begun enforcing a rule that dispensaries can only operate as non-profit entities. They are permitted to charge only enough for their product to cover production costs.
The judgment is likely to be appealed to further clarify California medical marijuana law interpretation, and it may be indicative of future legal trends. In spite of the legalization of medical marijuana use, California has some of the harshest sentencing guidelines for recreational drug offenses. If you have been charged with a marijuana-related crime, call the California marijuana crime defense attorneys of Sitkoff & Hanrahan at 866-430-8383 for a free consultation regarding your drug case.