One Toke Over the Line

California’s medical marijuana dispensaries lost a federal appeal Wednesday in their attempt to halt federal enforcement of marijuana laws.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed three combined appeals by dispensaries in Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego-based district in an unpublished order.

In late 2011, dispensaries in all four federal judicial districts in California filed lawsuits to stop federal legal actions against them, claiming the feds violated constitutional equal protection and commerce clause rights

All four cases had separate hearings before judges in those districts and all four were dismissed.

Only three of the four filed appeals.

Federal prosecutors had not gone after the groups directly but had threatened landlords with forfeiture of their property if they continued to rent to the dispensaries.

Among the dispensaries that appealed were the El Camino Wellness Center in Sacramento, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in MarinCounty and the Alternative Community Health Care Coop in San Diego.

The panel noted that their due process argument was foreclosed by a 2007 9th Circuit decision that rejected the due process violation claim of a medical marijuana patient.  Although the passage of time and changing social views may alter that fundamental analysis, the panel wrote, only a full 11-judge en banc rehearing can overturn the precedent.

The panel ruled the cases were properly dismissed.

Case:  Sacramento Nonprofit Collective v. Holder, No. 12-15991



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