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City Of Long Beach Told To Back Off On Medical Marijuana

Superior Court Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order

Preventing The City Of Long Beach From Closing A Medical Marijuana Dispensary

On Thursday August 9, 2012 Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin issued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the City of Long Beach from closing the Eartheart medical marijuana dispensary on August 12, 2012, pending an August 30, 2012 hearing on Eartheart’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the new medical marijuana dispensary ban in Long Beach.

In February 2012 the Long Beach City Council passed a new medical marijuana ordinance which banned all medical marijuana dispensaries in Long Beach, except for collectives of three or fewer patients. Eartheart was one of eighteen dispensaries that had qualified for a City of Long Beach medical marijuana dispensary permit under a lottery system that a state appellate court struck down last year as being in violation of federal law. It has spent over $172,000 satisfying the former permitting requirements. On August 1, 2012 the City of Long Beach sent notices requiring those eighteen dispensaries to close by August 12, 2012 or face civil and criminal penalties.

Earthheart has filed for declaratory and injunctive relief arguing that whereas the old Long Beach medical marijuana ordinance (Chap.5.47) had been held to be preempted by Federal law in the Pack case, the new medical marijuana ordinance (Chap. 5.49) was preempted by state law which prohibits a total local ban of all dispensaries in all areas of the city.

The court did not declare the new Long Beach ordinance unconstitutional. Instead, it ordered the City of Long Beach not to enforce the Notice to Cease activity by August 12, 2012, and not to enforce the new medical marijuana law, against Eartheart to the extent that such enforcement is solely on the basis that Eartheart is operating a medical marijuana dispensary within the city. The judge found that there was a likelihood that Eartheart would prevail on the merits of its claims against the city. A hearing scheduled for August 30, 2012 when the judge will decide whether or not to issue a preliminary injunction against the City of Long Beach pending a trial in Eartheart’s case against the City. The judge’s ruling only applies to the Eartheart dispensary.

The ultimate rulings in the Long Beach case may affect litigation to be filed soon against enforcement of the new Los Angeles medical marijuana ordinance. Both ordinances are similar and claim to be “gentle bans,” while lawyers for the dispensaries contend the ordinances are total bans in conflict with California’s medical marijuana program.

At the hearing on August 9, 2012 the City of Long Beach was represented by Deputy City Attorney Kendra Carney. Eartheart was represented by Los Angeles attorney Graham E. Berry. He was one of the attorneys who successfully sought an injunction against the City of Los Angeles medical marijuana ordinance in 2011 and last week he was one of the attorneys who successfully opposed a Riverside County attempt to close all medical marijuana dispensaries.

For more information contact:

Graham E. Berry
Attorney at Law
3384 McLaughlin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90066

Telephone: (310) 745-3771
Fax: (310) 745-3771
Mobile: (310) 902-6381
EMail: grahamberry@ca.rr.com

Or contact his co-counsel in these cases:

Stewart E. Richlin, Esq.
Law Offices of Stewart Richlin
430 S. Fuller Avenue, #9J
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Telephone: (323) 938-9644
Email: richlinlaw@gmail.com