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A federal appeals court on Monday decided that when cities shut down medical marijuana dispensaries, doing so does not violate the federally protected rights of disabled people.
A three-judge panel on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit by severely disabled Californians who were authorized by their doctors to use cannabis, reports Maura Dolan at the Los Angeles Times.
The patients had sued the Orange County, California cities of Costa Mesa and Lake Forest, charging that the cities’ attempts to shutter medicinal cannabis dispensaries violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability.
The 9th Circuit ruled that federal law does not protect the use of drugs banned by the federal government.
“We recognize that the plaintiffs are gravely ill,” wrote Judge Raymond C. Fisher, a Clinton appointee, for the court.
The patients’ attempt to win legal protection involves “not only their right to live comfortably, but also their basic human dignity,” Judge Fisher wrote, and “California has embraced marijuana as an effective treatment for debilitating pain.”
But, Fisher wrote, Congress has made clear the ADA provides no protection for medical marijuana patients.