Supreme Court Rules Against San Diego in Dispensary Lawsuit
By Bridget Naso, Aug. 20, 2019
California State Supreme Court ruling in a case against the
City of San Diego and how it passed the zoning ordinance for
marijuana dispensaries could have an impact across the state,
according to environmental law experts.
State Supreme Court ruled that San Diego violated the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when the city enacted the
zoning ordinance for marijuana dispensaries.
requires state and local agencies to identify the significant
environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate
those impacts, if feasible.
Lawyer Everett DeLano said this ruling says cities and counties
must consider environmental impacts when drafting ordinances
like the one for zoning of medical marijuana dispensaries.
that's traffic, whether, that's air quality, whether that's
greenhouse gas and missions, whatever the things that might
result as a result of that additional development, those are
things that cities now need to consider before they go ahead
and adopt these kind of ordinances,” DeLano said.
city had argued, in the case brought by the Union of Medical
Marijuana Patients, the adoption of the ordinance does not
have the potential for resulting in either a direct physical
change in the environment, or reasonably foreseeable indirect
physical change in the environment. Future projects subject
to the ordinance will require a discretionary permit and CEQA
review and will be analyzed at the appropriate time in accordance
Environmental attorneys say the ruling is being seen as a
reprimand to the city of San Diego for trying to create ordinances
without considering how that ordinance would impact the environment.
definitely will have impacts across all of California because
there are various cities throughout the state that are considering
ordinances and all of them have potential for some sort of
impact, so the question is which of those should be analyzed?
7 has learned the ruling is already being sited in briefs
for appeals of another case in Englewood, California for residents
who sued over the plan to build a NBA basketball arena.
Nemchik, spokesperson for the Office of the San Diego City
Attorney, told NBC 7 the office will study the court opinion
and determine the potential impacts on city operations.
court did not say what level of environmental review the ordinance,
or others like them, should trigger. How the ruling could
impact marijuana dispensaries is now in the hands of a San