Friday, February 11, 2011

County of Los Angeles v. Hill (Cal. Ct. App. - Feb. 10, 2011)

It doesn't matter that a permit costs $11,500, that Los Angeles has never (ever) approved a permit, that the permitted zones are only in inaccessible places, and a plethora of other facts don't prove that Los Angeles County's permitting regulations for medical marijuana clinics are preempted by the Compassionate Use Act.  So holds the Court of Appeal.

I don't know why the plaintiffs could possibly think that Los Angeles County is simply refusing to allow clinics anywhere they'd be viable, in violation of the Compassionate Use Act.  I'm sure that Los Angeles is simply trying to zone them in the most appropriate places. 

Which is presumably also why, five weeks before oral argument on the appeal, Los Angeles County passed another ordinance -- effective twelve days before the argument -- that expressly declares that if the Court of Appeal holds its permitting scheme to be preempted or otherwise unlawful, Los Angeles County hereby categorically bans all permits for medical marijuana clinics.

Oh, wait.  That just totally shows their true intent in the existing permitting scheme.  Never mind.  Not relevant, according to the Court of Appeal.

P.S. - Another interesting fact:  In light of the passage of the new ordinance, all parties -- both plaintiff and defendants -- moved to dismiss the appeal.  But the Court of Appeal denied this unopposed joint request.  A fact that is mentioned nowhere in the opinion, and that is evident only from examination the last several entries on the docket sheet.