25 Local governments sue California over pot home delivery rule

Posted Apr 6, 2019 by Karen Graham
Beverly Hills and 24 other localities in California sued state regulators Friday to overturn a rule allowing home deliveries statewide, even into communities that banned commercial pot sales.
The market for pot is in full bloom thanks to burgeoning industrial growing operations  marijuana ed...
The market for pot is in full bloom thanks to burgeoning industrial growing operations, marijuana edibles and a higher demand for equipment from those who want to grow -- or consume -- cannabis at home
Josh Edelson, AFP/File
The lawsuit, filed in Fresno County Superior Court, could potentially become a landmark legal case by answering a simple question - Who's in charge? Is it the state bureaucracy that oversees the market or local governments where pot is grown and sold?
State regulators adopted the home delivery rule in January permitting "commercial cannabis deliveries to any physical address in the state."
The League of California Cities and police chiefs argued that unrestricted home deliveries would create an unchecked market of largely hidden pot transactions while undermining local government control guaranteed in the 2016 law broadly legalizing marijuana sales.
Proposition 64 (2016) results by county. Counties with a majority of  yes  votes in green and counti...
Proposition 64 (2016) results by county. Counties with a majority of "yes" votes in green and counties with a majority of "no" votes in red.
The Associated Press reports the lawsuit goes beyond just home deliveries. It is also an early court test of Proposition 64 - the law passed on November 9, 2016, leading to recreational cannabis sales in California by January 2018.
Bear in mind this law governs the sale of recreational pot and not medical cannabis. Voters passed California Proposition 215 in 1996, making California the first state to legalize medical cannabis in the United States.
There have already been a number of disputes over precisely what certain parts of Proposition 64 mean, particularly when it comes to parts of the law governing the size of cannabis farms.
The lawsuit over the home delivery rule
The rule came about because large areas of the state had banned commercial pot activity or not set up rules to allow legal sales, creating what's been called pot "deserts," said many marijuana companies and consumers. People living in these areas were effectively cut off from making legal marijuana purchases.
Because pot is illegal at the federal level, marijuana cannot be sent through the mail. But under the new state rule, users can get marijuana delivered to their door. State regulators require that all cannabis deliveries must be performed by employees of a licensed retailer. There are 311 active licenses to deliver pot.
So basically, the delivery rule was supposed to clarify apparently conflicting regulations about where marijuana can be delivered in California. The 2016 law specifically stated that "local governments had the authority to ban nonmedical pot businesses."
But state regulators brought up the business and professions code, which said local governments "shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads" by a licensed operator. The Cannabis Bureau was merely clarifying something that was already in practice: "Licensed pot delivery can be made to any jurisdiction within the state."
Besides Beverly Hills and Santa Cruz County, plaintiffs include the cities of Agoura Hills, Angels Camp, Arcadia, Atwater, Ceres, Clovis, Covina, Dixon, and Downey. Also participating are McFarland, Newman, Oakdale, Palmdale, Patterson, Riverbank, Riverside, San Pablo, Sonora, Tehachapi, Temecula, Tracy, Turlock and Vacaville.