The issue of whether cities and counties in the state of California can ban medical marijuana stores - as some have done - will be reviewed by the California Supreme Court. But don't hold your breath as the ruling is as far away as 2 years down the road.
The state's supreme court held closed door sessions last week and made the decision they would review rulings made by lower appeals California courts. This makes lower court decisions that have gone against medical marijuana stores are now put on hold until such time as the Supreme Court makes a ruling.
California: first medical marijuana state
The chief counsel for a medical marijuana advocacy group called 'Americans for Safe Access', Joe Elford, told media after the Supreme Court decision that patients have been harmed by the lower court decisions and he applauded the higher courts decisions to review them.
"These cases were very problematic for patients and their ability to safely and legally access a medication that works for them," Elford said. "We're very pleased that local governments will now be unable to use appellate court decisions to deny patients access to medical marijuana in their own communities."
Supreme Court to look at two marijuana issues
The court said there are two issues they will review. There have been rulings in California in which cities and counties have ruled against medical marijuana stores and sought to shut them down. For example, in L.A. due to lower court rulings the city was planning to bar all medical marijuana dispensaries.
The Supreme Court will also look at the state and Federal government remaining at loggerheads, with state law allowing medical marijuana dispensaries, and federal saying marijuana is not legal, period. The state legalized medical marijuana in 1996, the first state in the U.S. to do so.
There are now 16 states and DC in which the use of marijuana is permitted with the recommendation of a doctor, the latest state to join the list is Delaware last year. Medical marijuana is also legal in Canada and other countries.
No timeline for the review as yet been announced.