Charles Parkin
Long Beach
City Attorney

411 West Ocean Blvd., 9th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802-4664
Appellate Court Upholds City's Medical Marijuana Ban
Ted Zinger
Deputy City Attorney

 On July 12, 2016, the Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s order dismissing a class-action lawsuit brought by two Medical Marijuana dispensaries, challenging the City’s ordinance banning medical marijuana facilities within the City. “This was an excellent result for the City,” said City Attorney Charles Parkin. “The Court of Appeal found there is no federal or state law allowing plaintiffs to lease property to operate a marijuana collective so the City could not have interfered with this right.”

In a 43-page complaint filed by local attorney Matthew Pappas, the dispensaries alleged that the patient class members suffered from physical or mental disabilities, serious illnesses or permanent injuries, and that the Americans with Disabilities Act entitled each of them to medical marijuana. Consequently, the City’s ordinance, Long Beach Mun. Code § 5.98, illegally prevented these patients from receiving medical marijuana. 

The plaintiffs also alleged that dispensaries operating before the ban had certain vested property rights, which the City infringed upon in violation of the 5th Amendment when it instituted the medical marijuana ban. Finally, the plaintiffs’ claimed that the City interfered with established dispensaries, and violated federal or state laws, by threats, intimidation, or coercion. 

On appeal the plaintiffs devoted much of its argument to its assertions that the city ordinances regulating, and then banning medical marijuana dispensaries, discriminate against persons with disabilities. The Court of Appeal rejected all of their claims. 

The Court of Appeal based its decision on the ground that the California statutes establishing the personal use of medical marijuana did not also establish substantive rights to establish dispensaries. The court stated that “simply put, there is no federal or state law granting plaintiffs the right to lease property to operate a marijuana collective, so defendants could not have interfered with any such right.”

The case is entitled the Kind and Compassionate et al. v. City of Long Beach, Case No. B258806. The briefing of the case was handled in the City Attorney’s Office by Deputy City Attorney Ted Zinger.