25 lo­cal gov­ern­ments sue over state pot de­liv­ery

The Tribune (SLO) - - News/obituaries - BY MICHAEL R. BLOOD

LOS AN­GE­LES

In a ma­jor chal­lenge to reg­u­la­tions that govern Cal­i­for­nia’s mar­i­juana mar­ket, Bev­erly Hills and 24 other lo­cal gov­ern­ments sued Fri­day to over­turn a rule al­low­ing home de­liv­er­ies statewide, even into com­mu­ni­ties that banned com­mer­cial pot sales.

The League of Cal­i­for­nia Cities and po­lice chiefs had com­plained that un­re­stricted home de­liv­er­ies would cre­ate an un­ruly mar­ket of largely hid­den trans­ac­tions, while un­der­cut­ting lo­cal con­trol guar­an­teed in the 2016 law that broadly le­gal­ized mar­i­juana sales in Cal­i­for­nia and cre­ated the na­tion’s largest le­gal pot mar­ket­place.

Santa Cruz County Board of Su­per­vi­sors Chair­man Ryan Coon­erty said in a state­ment that the state rule dam­ages lo­cal mar­i­juana busi­nesses and “be­trays the prom­ise made to the vot­ers” in 2016.

The sig­nif­i­cance of the law­suit goes be­yond home de­liv­er­ies. It rep­re­sents an im­por­tant early court test of Propo­si­tion 64, the law that broadly le­gal­ized sales for adults. There have been nu­mer­ous dis­putes over pre­cisely what parts of the law mean, in­clud­ing the size of cannabis farms.

The state Bureau of Cannabis Con­trol, which drafted the rule, had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the law­suit, which was filed late Thurs­day in Fresno County Su­pe­rior Court.

The law­suit asks the court to in­val­i­date the rule and pro­hibit state reg­u­la­tors from en­forc­ing it.

Mar­i­juana com­pa­nies and con­sumers had pushed for statewide home de­liv­er­ies be­cause vast stretches of the state have banned com­mer­cial pot ac­tiv­ity or not set up rules to al­low le­gal sales, cre­at­ing what’s been called pot “deserts.”

The rule cleared by state lawyers in Jan­uary sought to clar­ify what had been ap­par­ently con­flict­ing reg­u­la­tions about where mar­i­juana can be de­liv­ered in Cal­i­for­nia.

The 2016 law said lo­cal gov­ern­ments had the au­thor­ity to ban non­med­i­cal pot busi­nesses. But state reg­u­la­tors pointed to the busi­ness and pro­fes­sions code, which said lo­cal gov­ern­ments “shall not pre­vent de­liv­ery of cannabis or cannabis prod­ucts on pub­lic roads” by a li­censed op­er­a­tor.

The cannabis bureau had said it was merely clar­i­fy­ing what had al­ways been the case: A li­censed pot de­liv­ery can be made to “any ju­ris­dic­tion within the state.”

In ad­di­tion to Bev­erly Hills and Santa Cruz County, plain­tiffs in­clude the cities of Agoura Hills, An­gels Camp, Arcadia, At­wa­ter, Ceres, Clo­vis, Cov­ina, Dixon and Downey. Also par­tic­i­pat­ing are McFar­land, New­man, Oak­dale, Palm­dale, Pat­ter­son, River­bank, River­side, San Pablo, Sonora, Te­hachapi, Te­mec­ula, Tracy, Tur­lock and Va­cav­ille.

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