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Medical MarijuanaOn January 11, the California Supreme Court granted review of the Fourth Appellate District’s decision in Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 103.  The two issues to be decided by the Court are as follows:

  • Is the enactment of a zoning ordinance categorically a “project” within the meaning of CEQA?
  • Is the enactment of a zoning ordinance allowing the operation of medical marijuana cooperatives in certain areas the type of activity that may cause a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change to the environment?

Our summary of the appellate decision under review can be found in our prior blog post.

Given the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016, which legalized recreational marijuana cultivation and use in California, the Supreme Court’s decision in this case will be of great significance to local jurisdictions as they map out strategies for CEQA compliance related to zoning amendments and other land use regulations applicable to medicinal and recreational marijuana, as well as other land uses determined by ordinance.

In addition, resolution of the first question may settle an important issue that has resulted in conflicting appellate interpretations of what constitutes a “project” under CEQA section 21080(a) and the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Muzzy Ranch Co. v. Solano County Airport Land Use Commission (2007) 41 Cal.4th 370 – please see our original post for more information.

Until further action by the Court, the opinion issued by the Fourth District in Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. remains citable as persuasive authority (but has no binding or precedential effect), pursuant to the new California Rule of Court 8.1115(e)(1).