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Trade Group Sues to Block L.A. Marijuana Dispensary Ban

A medical marijuana trade group filed a lawsuit last Friday seeking to block the city’s recently passed ban on storefront medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Patient Care Alliance alleges in the lawsuit that the city’s ban violates the First Amendment right to freely assemble, because it limits collective marijuana growing and sharing to three or fewer individuals or caregivers.

The new ordinance was approved last month and is set to take effect Sept. 6. It bans dispensaries but allows licensed patients or caregivers to grow and transport their own medical marijuana.

Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher said courts have previously rejected the “freedom to associate” argument in regards to bans on certain-sized marijuana collectives.

“California case law holds that the ‘freedom of association’ is not violated by a zoning ordinance that simply limits how a property can be used or the number of people that can use it,” Usher said.