April 24, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

25 cities sue California cannabis regulator to protect local authority over cannabis delivery

The law firm Churchwell White LLP filed suit April 4, 2019 on behalf of 25 California jurisdictions challenging   the California Bureau of Cannabis Control's regulation provision, adopted in December 2018, forcing local jurisdictions to allow delivery of cannabis in their communities. The Public Health Institute and other organizations protested this change as violating the letter and spirit of Proposition 64, which legalized adult-use cannabis and the implementing legislation (MAUCRSA), both of which assured local control.  They are seeking additional jurisdictions to join the suit.

These state regulations undermine the autonomy not only of communities with bans in place, but also communities that rightly adopted public health oriented restrictions on products that appeal to youth like cannabis orange soda or mango flavored vaping fluid, whose residents will no longer be protected, or who have stores but opted to not allow delivery, or who limited the number of outlets intentionally, or who taxed high potency products at a higher rates, for example.

Churchwell White LLP is representing the County of Santa Cruz; and the Cities of Agoura Hills, Angels Camp, Arcadia, Atwater, Beverly Hills, Ceres, Clovis, Covina, Dixon, Downey, McFarland, Newman, Oakdale, Palmdale, Patterson, Riverbank, Riverside, San Pablo, Sonora, Tehachapi, Temecula, Tracy, Turlock, and Vacaville in the litigation.

The lawsuit filed in Fresno Superior Court alleges that BCC Regulation 5416(d) is invalid because it eliminates the ability of cities and counties to regulate commercial cannabis deliveries within their communities, a key promise in Proposition 64, which legalized commercial cannabis activities in California.

These local governments have formed a geographically diverse coalition for the Safe Implementation of Marijuana Policy for Local Government (“SIMPL”). SIMPL seeks to ensure that Proposition 64, which legalized commercial cannabis activities in California, is implemented in a manner consistent with the way it was considered, voted on and passed by voters. In particular, SIMPL was formed to safeguard the right of each city and county to decide what types of commercial cannabis activities are appropriate for their community. SIMPL is not pro- or anti-cannabis. The SIMPL objective is to allow each community the ability to adopt rules that reflect their priorities and values consistent with the promise of local control contained in Proposition 64.

This blog post is based on information that Lynn Sliver at the Public Health Institute provided to me.

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