by David Downs
Activists are worried about a new California Appellate Court ruling over the Thanksgiving break that appears to give cities and counties the okay to ban all medical marijuana cultivation - even a single plant, in a closet, for personal, medical use.
The case revolves around the City of Live Oak, which passed an ordinance in 2011 banning medical marijuana cultivation. Patients there sued and a local judge sided with the city. Patients then appealed and the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Sacramento upheld the ban last week, according to reports, and said state law and previous court decisions "do not pre-empt a city's police power to prohibit the cultivation of all marijuana within that city."
There is no "unfettered right to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes," the appeals court said.
The appeals court held that banning medical marijuana growing in a city or county does not conflict with Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act approved by voters in 1996, or the 2003 Medical Marijuana Program approved by the Legislature.
Dale Gieringer with CA NORML writes: "This decision makes it imperative that California adopt legislation specifically recognizing the right of all patients in need to access medical marijuana."
Activists say the appellate court left open at least two legal challenges to the Live Oak ordinance.
A number of jurisdictions including Fresno are considering banning all medical marijuana cultivation.