A case before the State Supreme Court could bring back medical marijuana dispensaries. Locally, the City and County of Fresno have banned them. And nearly two hundred other cities around the state have done the same. A dispensary in Riverside is fighting back, and the court’s decision could impact the entire state.
Over the last few years, Fresno saw dozens of dispensaries pop up, but they were all shut down by local law enforcement. If the court decides in favor of the dispensary, we may see them once again.
Diana Kirby lost her leg in an accident decades ago. With pain throughout her body, and intolerance for most medicine, she turned to cannabis for relief.
“There's a lot people around that can't go without it. Not because I’m addicted to it, but because it's the only thing I can use,” said Kirby.
Since all the dispensaries in town were shut down, she's relied on family to find suppliers. She bakes cookies, using marijuana in the butter. She hopes the laws change before she runs out.
Patients in nearly two hundred cities around the state are in the same position. Tuesday the State Supreme Court heard arguments in a case out of Riverside. A dispensary says the city can't ban something the state allows. But Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says they were bad for neighborhoods.
“I have not received one complaint since the dispensaries have been shut down. People that lived in the neighborhoods near those dispensaries were very grateful,” said Mims.
She also says many dispensaries were corrupt, overcharging patients for a huge profit.
“It was all about the money, not the medicine,” said Mims.
CBS47's legal analyst says it'll likely take months for the court to make a decision.
“I think they'll set up some kind of framework of regulation. How stringent or how lax that's going to be, that's going to be the ultimate question. Chances are no one is going to like the end result and consider it a total victory,” said attorney Carl Faller.
The Sheriff says if the court decides store-front dispensaries should be allowed, she still won’t want them in neighborhoods.