CA Court Of Appeal Upholds Legality Of Storefront Dispensaries
Joe | Mar 08, 2012 | Comments 0
In an important ruling handed down late last month, The California Court of Appeal upheld the legality of storefront dispensaries in the state, and also rejected the notion that a collective can only be legal is every member participates in cultivation.
The case People v. Colvin involves William Frank Colvin, the operator of Hollywood Holistic Inc., who was arrested while lawfully transporting a pound of medical marijuana from one collective he operates to another. Even while acknowledging that Colvin was operating a legitimate dispensary, the trial court denied him a defense on the grounds that transportation of medical marijuana was illegal under state law. After being denied a defense, Colvin was convicted.
On appeal, California Attorney General Kamala Harris advanced the view that under state law all members of a collective must somehow participate in the cultivation process and “come together” in “some way” for this purpose.
As the court pointed out however, if a collective has 5,000 members, it’s impractical for all of them to participate in cultivation, something that can be accomplished with a fraction of the membership.
The court compared medical marijuana cooperatives and collectives to other such establishments in the state.
“[The Attorney General’s interpretation of state law] would impose on medical marijuana cooperatives requirements not imposed on other cooperatives. A grocery cooperative, for example, may have members who grow and sell the food and run a store out of which the cooperative’s products are sold. But not everyone who pays a fee to become a member participates in the cooperative other than to shop at it.”
These are important legal landmarks in medical marijuana’s oldest state. Prop 215 is vague as far as regulations and it is up to the courts to set precedents for future legal challenges, at least until the voters decide they are going to sure-up or modify the state’s medical cannabis laws.
Patients in CA deserve much better treatment than they are receiving at the hands of many in state and the federal government. They are not criminals, and it’s a waste of time to continually attempt to paint them as such.