Supreme Court to review key case, Download new letter from ASA

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) scored a big victory this week when the California Supreme Court agreed to review Pack v. Long Beach and Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center. The Pack decision held that some dispensary regulations may be preempted by federal law, and the Riverside decision held that localities could legally ban distribution altogether. ASA, together with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed an amicus brief in the case asking the Supreme Court to review these cases to help preserve local regulation and safe access for patients statewide.

ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford wrote a short letter explaining the significance of the Supreme Court decision in the Pack case. Download a copy of Joe’s letter and share it with your City Council or Board of Supervisors at their next meeting. This is especially important if your city or county is moving to ban patients’ associations or suspend regulations. You can get help organizing turn out at public meetings and speaking in public from ASA’s free Online Advocates Training Center.

Our victory in securing the Supreme Court’s review could not have come at a better time. Some cities and counties have used these decisions as an excuse to ban patients’ cooperatives and collectives or to stop existing permitting schemes. The decision to review these cases means they are no longer binding – and there is no legal necessity to ban patients associations, repeal existing regulations, or stall on issuing licenses or permits. The Supreme Court may not rule on Pack or Riverside for a long time (maybe years). Until then, cities and counties are not prevented from upholding the voters mandate in Proposition 215 “to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”

We cannot allow cities and counties to use Pack or Riverside as excuses to block safe access to medicine. Research conducted by ASA and experience since 1996 show that sensible regulations reduce crime and complaints around cooperatives and collectives, while preserving patients’ access. We don’t know the ultimate outcome at the Supreme Court, but until we do, we need to keep insisting that our elected representatives do the right thing for patients and their communities – adopt and implement regulations.

ASA is committed to fighting for safe access here in California, and to finally changing federal law. This is just one of many legal victories that your participation and financial support made possible. Thank you!

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