Can my California city outlaw medical marijuana dispensaries?

Yes. While California allows medical marijuana use under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, a recent ruling in May, 2013 by the California Supreme Court might make it harder to find a dispensary in your area. (2013 WL 1859214 (Cal.)) The Court concluded that the Compassionate Use Act only prohibited the criminal prosecution of those who follow the Act’s rules concerning medical marijuana use, cultivation, and sale. The Court affirmed a lower court ruling that cities and counties may apply zoning laws to medical marijuana dispensaries, and deem them public nuisances if they met the laws’ definitions of a nuisance. When an activity is a legal nuisance, cities have the power to prohibit it from operating within city (or county) limits.

For more information on California’s medical marijuana laws, see  California Medical Marijuana Laws. To learn about California's marijuana laws in general, see California Marijuana Laws.

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