Some California communities are upset about the statewide rule that allows home delivery, and are taking the state to court to see if they can ban home delivery in their areas.
So far, however, the judge has sided temporarily with the state when it comes to whether or not these cities have a leg to stand on in their case. Although the cities have banned recreational sales, they don’t have any specific ordinances in place that would ban delivery, which would need to be the case for them to move forward.
“The League of California Cities and police chiefs had complained that unrestricted home deliveries would create a chaotic market of largely hidden pot transactions, while undercutting local control guaranteed in the 2016 law that broadly legalized marijuana sales in the state,” stated an article by the Star Tribune. “The dispute between the state and 25 of its local governments raises a foundational question in the legal marijuana economy: Who is in charge, the state bureaucracy that oversees the marketplace, or local governments where pot is grown and sold?”
So far, a group of municipalities have filed a lawsuit as of April 2019 hoping to get home delivery banned from their areas. This includes Beverly Hills, Riverside and Santa Cruz County, and the cities of Agoura Hills, Angels Camp, Arcadia, Atwater, Ceres, Clovis, Covina, Dixon, Downey, McFarland, Newman, Oakdale, Palmdale, Patterson, Riverbank, San Pablo, Sonora, Tehachapi, Temecula, Tracy, Turlock, and Vacaville.
On the other hand, many have pushed for home delivery in California specifically for the reason that so many areas have banned cannabis sales in localities. Home delivery helps get patients with limited mobility access to medicine they may otherwise not have, and is a huge step towards growing the industry.
Could These Cities Win Their Case?
In order to make the case that cannabis delivery should be banned in their area, it’s not enough for cities to simply state that businesses are not allowed to operate within their borders, or that they prefer not to have home delivery if given the choice. They have to prove there is actually a ban against home delivery dating back to before this new law, which is a tricky thing to do. Currently, there is concern from those who will decide the ruling that there may not even be a case. If no places already had restrictions against delivery, they cannot legally make that claim now.
About 400 dispensaries in California currently deliver, and the new delivery rule was implemented to clarify any conflicting regulations about delivery. A 2016 law said local governments could ban businesses in their locales if they wanted to. However, the state business and professions code specifies that governments “shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads” by a licensed operator.
However, as contentious as this issue is to many California residents, it will not be decided yet. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for November. Until then, the unhappy municipalities will have to deal with delivery in their areas.