California high court says municipalities can ban medical marijuana dispensaries 

  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner

The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that cities and counties have the right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries within their borders, despite the existence of a state law that protects patients who use the drug.

The court said the scope of the voter-approved Compassionate Use Act of 1996, or Proposition 215, and a related 2003 state law is “limited and circumscribed” and does not prevent local governments from prohibiting marijuana dispensaries.

Currently, 193 California cities — including Concord, Corte Madera, Fremont, Petaluma, Redwood City, Sunnyvale and Vacaville, among more than 40 in the greater Bay Area — ban medical marijuana dispensaries, according to statistics compiled by Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based marijuana advocacy group.

Twenty counties, including Contra Costa, prohibit dispensaries within unincorporated county land.

Forty-four California cities currently have regulations that allow dispensaries, including Oakland, Martinez, San Jose, San Francisco and Santa Rosa, according to Americans for Safe Access.

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