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Disabilities Act Cannot Be Used to Protect Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Court Rules


A federal appeals court has ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act cannot be used to protect medical marijuana dispensaries from being shut down.

A panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that was filed by medical marijuana users who were severely disabled. The suit charged that two California cities violated the disabilities act when they closed down medical marijuana dispensaries. The court ruled the law does not protect patients who say they face discrimination on the basis of medical marijuana use, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“We recognize that the federal government’s views on the wisdom of restricting medical marijuana use may be evolving,” Judge Raymond C. Fisher wrote. “But for now Congress has determined that, for purposes of federal law, marijuana is unacceptable for medical use.”

Jeffrey V. Dunn, a lawyer for Lake Forest, one of the cities involved in the case, noted that nearly 40 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city have been shut down. “My take-away on this is no city or county or a state, for that matter, can enact laws or ordinances that conflict with federal law,” he told the newspaper.

A lawyer for the patients, Matthew Pappas, says he will ask a larger panel of the 9th Circuit to review the case. He noted patients must now drive long distances to get their medicine.

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