Do state lawmakers have the right to allow marijuana home delivery everywhere within the state’s borders? Or, do cities and counties have the right to ban delivery, no matter what the state law says?
A state court will answer those key questions in a case with implications for the entire nation. So far, it’s not going too well for the cities and counties.
In a recent ruling, the judge considering the case sided with the state. Fresno Superior Court Judge Rosemary McGuire said the state’s argument that cities can’t oppose California’s statewide marijuana home delivery law if they don’t already have laws opposing delivery holds merit.
She asked the cities and counties involved with the lawsuit to submit evidence to the court that they have an ordinance in place opposed to the state law, according to the Associated Press.
The state has argued that without such an ordinance, “This court would be required to make substantial assumptions about events which may, or may not, occur at some future point.”
A Statewide Delivery Law Ignited The Legal Action
California lawmakers passed a law allowing statewide marijuana home delivery to end a period where a hodgepodge of local laws made it difficult to figure out where you could order weed for home delivery.
However, 25 cities banded together to sue the state. Leaders in these cities want to retain the right to ban home delivery. It’s unclear if any of the cities have passed an ordinance opposed to the state law. With the judge’s order, some will likely do so if they haven’t already.
As it stands, the California law allows delivery of cannabis to “any physical address in the state.” It’s been a boon for cannabis businesses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the larger cities and counties that have sued the state include Beverly Hills, Riverside and Santa Cruz County. Cities and counties will have plenty of time to counter the state’s argument, as the next hearing is not set until November.
Why This Case Is Interesting For Cannabis Consumers
Marijuana home delivery is a big issue for cannabis consumers. The ability to order cannabis delivered to your home like a pizza or groceries provides an extra level of convenience that modern buyers expect.
At the heart of the case is the question of who is the final authority on marijuana law: the state’s that set up the legal marijuana system, or the local governments where cannabis is grown and sold.
Obviously, this is all in the absence of the federal government legalizing weed. They still list it as a Schedule I illegal drug on par with cocaine and heroin.
Should this issue expand into the rest of the country, the opposing arguments in California provide an example of what cannabis consumers can expect.
Cannabis companies argue that in addition to the expected level of customer convenience, marijuana home delivery also allows those who live in “cannabis deserts” to buy weed. Those deserts are areas where local governments have banned marijuana dispensaries.
Opponents such as The League of California Cities and local police chiefs argue that home deliveries create “a chaotic market of largely hidden pot transactions,” according to the Associated Press. They also argue the law undercuts the original 2016 law that allowed local governments to opt out of allowing marijuana home delivery.