Medical Marijuana: California Judge Issues Injunction Blocking LA Dispensary Moratorium

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #605)
Drug War Issues

A California Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the City of Los Angeles' moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries is invalid and granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the ban. The Green Oasis dispensary and a number of other collectives sued the city last month seeking to overturn the moratorium.

[inline:ventura-dispensary.jpg align=right caption="medical marijuana dispensary, Ventura Blvd., LA (courtesy"]They argued that the City Council violated state law when it extended its original moratorium in March. They also argued the measure was unconstitutionally vague.

Superior Court Judge James Chalfant concluded that the city did not follow state law when it moved to extend the moratorium, but had instead relied on an out-of-date local ordinance. "The city cannot rely on an expired ordinance," he said as he issued the injunction.

The injunction applies only to Green Oasis, but the ruling appears to challenge the city's ability to enforce the moratorium against the hundreds of dispensaries that have opened in the city in the last two years. According to some estimates, the city could have as many as a thousand dispensaries operating right now. With the Green Oasis ruling, other dispensaries will be inspired to join the lawsuit or file lawsuits of their own.

The ruling only adds to the confusion around the legality of dispensaries in California in general and Los Angeles in particular. Also on Monday, the Obama administration issued a memo saying that prosecuting medical marijuana providers in states where it is legal should not occur unless the providers are violating state law. But last week, LA District Attorney Steve Cooley argued that under his interpretation of state law, "100%" of LA dispensaries are illegal, and he was going to move against them.

In the meantime, more dispensaries continue to open in Los Angeles. And now, in the wake of this week's ruling, the LA city council is moving in an expedited manner to get a handle on them. It expects to have plans in place next week to begin to shut down hundreds. This is a battle that is far from over.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

I lived in Los Angeles for a short time and had a valid medical marijuana proscription from a doctor there. I did a tour of some of the dispensaries and found them to be excellent. Right out of Amsterdam, and very confident of themselves---perhaps over-confident: some staff members of these places have become gourmet pot snobs. One time I was about to put some green bud in a bong and a couple staff members came running out at me: "That bong is just for hash!" they yelled.
So much of the misgivings about medical dispensaries in Los Angeles is nothing but media hype, as if a dispensary is a serious threat to public morals. These places are for the most part run by reasonable people in an ambiance of calm. I didn't see any of the free-wheeling sloppiness that many articles I've seen in major news outlets have depicted.

Fri, 10/23/2009 - 11:31am Permalink
Big Mark (not verified)

LA District Attorney Steve Cooley believes that he knows what is best for the people of California; yes the citizens who have already decided by vote that they want medical marijuana shops to operate legally within the borders of their beautiful state. The founding fathers and framers of our Constitution feared that in the future of america there would develop men such as LA District Attorney Steve Cooley and they put in place worded protections to guard the citizens of these United States from creatures of government such as Steve Cooley. Steve Cooley believes he knows what is best for you and I, while he hides under the guise of justice. Steve Cooley operates and interprets the law as he see's fit, completey ignoring a Presidential order to cease and desist prosecutorial activities against medical marijuana dispensaries that operate within the laws of the the state of California. Steve Cooley has become a "Master Of The People" and is spending citizens tax dollars to pursue his personal and hasty generalization of state and federal law. Men like Steve Cooley should be removed from office, and the manner in which they can be removed is through the voting process. Never before has it become more evident that the power of the people rest in the power of the voting process. The people of California must once again rise-up and utilize the privileged power given them and vote Steve Cooley from office; the people must show that they answer to no master except God almighty.
Steve Cooley must be voted out of office and replaced with a servant of the people for the people. God bless America the state of California and the medical marijuana community.

Fri, 10/23/2009 - 11:54am Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

The story of the gourmet hash bong, while amusing, points up an issue: there is a lack of public education about the smoking process as it relates to safe use of cannabis and harm reduction.

1. Leaving aside an issue raised concerning the medical usefulness of bongs (filtration is said to remove so much THC that smokers burn up more herb, exposing themselves to more CO), almost all bongs I have seen have too wide a crater (the word "bowl" has an unfortunate connotation of bigness, for example the rus. "bolshoi" means big).

If the diameter of the opening at the top doubles, its area (which regulates oxygen access) quadruples. Users hoping to catch all the smoke ("I aint gettin' any!") suck harder, raising the burning temperature and destroying more THC. Contrary to what is promulgated and advertised on "head shop" websites, the crater size should never be wider than 1/4" (6-mm.), and for hashish or kief 7/32" (5-mm.), with a 40-mesh (that's windows per linear inch) screen nested at shallow depth (to prevent "shooters" from getting drawn in to clog the channel). Sifted herb serving = up to 25-mg., hash/kief 10-15-mg. (Where do you think your money has been going?)

2. Without a long flexible drawtube, users may have to light a smoking utensil so close to their face they botch the job, sucking too hard and burning too hot in order to finish lighting quickly. Most bongs improve on this somewhat, but then the sucking procedure (from the wide top) militates against breath control so users mostly suck too hard anyway. (For the high prices allegedly charged, which the D.A. gloated about, why was a bong being offered instead of a vaporizer anyway?)

I'd have to know whether an institution is properly instructing clients about the above issues before I can judge whether they are living up to the high medical standards the public will be demanding.

Fri, 10/23/2009 - 2:46pm Permalink
calaverasgrande (not verified)

This is just another instance of a DA on the prowl for name recognition. I would be willing to gamble that the DA named in the article is a registered republican. Likewise he is planning on running for office in the future and wants to havea record of being "tough on drugs". Which to blindered citizens in the suburbs sounds like a good thing.
Our state is in a budget crater right now. Marijuana legalization and taxation may help us to at least see the rim of the crater, if not get us entirely out.

Fri, 10/23/2009 - 5:03pm Permalink
Big Mark (not verified)

Maxwood those spec.s you put out are impressive and I'm with you on that vaporizer.

Vote Steve Cooley out of office better yet; impeach him for being a fraud.

Sun, 10/25/2009 - 3:03pm Permalink
Goliath (not verified)

I'm sick of politicians imposing their will against decent law abiding citizens who want to be left alone to enjoy whatever soothes their bodies and souls. How do we know Cooley isn't firing up a bong of his own in the privacy of his own bedroom along with a little porn to compliment the evening?

I wouldn't doubt it! History is littered with the remnants of political hypocrites of his ilk. Politicians against homosexuals, but privately bending over and taking it from behind 7 ways to Sunday; Others spewing rhetoric about Family Values - meanwhile, they're getting a little on the side in Argentina or the local Four Seasons with some upscale prostitute. And on and on it goes.

Maybe someone should start spying on Cooley and smoke out the skeletons in his closet. My money says he's a closet kink.

He makes me sick. Typical self-serving, altruistic A-Hole resisting the will of the people for his own agenda. The people voted for Medical Marijuana - so back off, jerk-off!! Aren't there enough illegal drug hoods peddling their contraband on hundreds of corners throughout L.A. enough to keep his office busy?

Let's start a movement to boot Cooley's ass out of office. Enough is enough.

Tue, 10/27/2009 - 10:19pm Permalink

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