February 3, 2016
Judge Joanne O’Donnell of the Los Angeles Superior Court, on February 3, 2016, sustained demurrers, without leave to amend, brought on behalf of Garcia Rainey Blank & Bowerbank LLP clients the City of Long Beach (“the City”) and the Long Beach City Attorney (collectively, “Respondents”).
Petitioners, which consisted of six medical marijuana dispensary operators, alleged that the City’s total ban on the operation of medical marijuana collectives within the municipal jurisdiction, set forth in Long Beach Municipal Code Chapter 5.89, impermissibly conflicted with the Compassionate Use Act and Medical Marijuana Program Act and constituted an impermissible ex post facto law.
In Judge O’Donnell’s ruling, issued after oral argument, Judge O’Donnell agreed with the three main arguments asserted by Mr. Blank and Ms. Noroski.
First, Judge O’Donnell agreed that the 90-day statute of limitations set forth in Government Code Section 65009(c)(1)(B) is applicable to Chapter 5.89 and that it bars all of Petitioners’ claims.
Second, the Court held that neither the Compassionate Use Act nor the Medical Marijuana Program Act preempted the City’s ability to exclude facilities that distribute medical marijuana.
Third, the Court agreed that Chapter 5.89 is not an impermissible ex post facto law, because the purpose of the statute is to protect the public’s health, safety, and general welfare, a legitimate nonpunitive purpose.
Partner Jeff Blank stated, “We are very pleased by Judge O’Donnell’s ruling. She upheld the City of Long Beach’s ability to exercise its traditional land use and police powers to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries.”