San Francisco has started back issuing medical marijuana dispensary permits again, after a recent California Supreme Court decision allowing the shops to stay open — for now.
The city’s permitting process had been on hold for a few months after the state appeals court ruling in Pack v. Long Beach, reports Chris Roberts at the SF Weekly. That ruling — which held that cities and counties can’t regulate marijuana, since it’s against federal law — led local governments throughout the state to suspend, repeal, or reconsider their dispensary regulations.
Since the state Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal, the lower court’s ruling has become invalidated, according to a spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office. So the S.F. Department of Health’s medical marijuana dispensary permitting process can start back as normal, and several proposed shops which had been put on hold can finally receive the go-ahead to open their doors.
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|Jack Song, spokesman, S.F. City Attorney’s office: “Department of Health has resumed its processing of permits”|
San Francisco will “continue processing permits under the City ordinance, pending a decision by the Supreme Court,” according to City Attorney spokesman Jack Song. “Department of Public health has resumed its processing of permits.”
If rumors that Obama’s Department of Justice is considering suing cities that regulate state-legal medical marijuana programs turn out to be true, of course, “it could be gave over — again,” the SF Weekly reports.
According to the Weekly, the California Supreme Court decision hasn’t had nearly as large an impact as the coordinated crackdown by all four of the state’s U.S. Attorneys. The federal prosecutors’ action has resulted in the closure of hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego, Sacramento, and the Bay Area.
Some California cities didn’t suspend their dispensary permitting programs. For example, Oakland went ahead reviewing applications for up to four new shops in the city.
Letters from Northern California U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag resulted in the closure of five San Francisco dispensaries.
An anonymous source told California Watch‘s Michael Montgomery that Haag was considering a lawsuit against Mendocino County, which issues growing licenses and zip-ties for legal plants, and collects permit inspection fees for growers of up to 99 plants under county law. Such a lawsuit could mean the end of Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman’s innovative plan.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider the zip-tie program — named 9.31 for the section of civil code which allows it — at its Tuesday meeting.