On Thursday, the California Supreme Court denied a motion to review Maral v. Live Oak. An appellate court had previously ruled in favor of public agencies in Maral v. Live Oak, upholding the right of local governments to completely ban personal use cultivation by medical marijuana patients.
In a lawsuit sponsored by Cal NORML, attorney Joe Elford sought to overturn the appellate court’s decision on the grounds that cultivation bans like the one in Live Pak violate state laws like Prop. 215 and SB 420—the latter of which establishes a statewide guideline of 6 mature or 12 immature plants per medical card-carrying individual. Local agencies are free to increase, but not lower, these guidelines.
“We are deeply disappointed by the court’s decision,” says Cal NORML Director and Prop 215 co-author Dale Gieringer, “They have effectively undermined Prop. 215’s stated purpose ‘to ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes.’”
In denying the request for appeal, the court offered no explanation for its decision—standard practice for the California Supreme Court.
The court’s decision does not preclude the possibility of a future challenge to local cultivation bans in another appellate district.
For context: Live Oak was the first government in California to completely ban all patient cultivation. The city does not permit dispensaries. Its ordinance was challenged by a local card-carrying patient named James Maral.
According to the Sierra Sun Times:
“The Live Oak decision comes on the heels of the Browne vs. Tehama case, where both the trial and appellate courts found that the state medical marijuana law does not preempt county zoning, and that the county’s marijuana ordinance was not pre-empted by any state law, nor does it violate or conflict with any state law. Unless the State Supreme court receives petition from a case originating in a different appellate body, the Live Oak, Tehama, and Riverside court cases settle the long-standing debate over the authority of local municipalities to regulate and ban medical marijuana cultivation and distribution.”