In a battle between a southern California cannabis consumer and urban regulators, the consumer won. On Friday, a judge overturned most of a local order that would severely limit the personal culture inside a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Drug Policy Alliance against Fontana.
At a hearing in early October, ACLU lawyers and the Drug Policy Alliance asked a San Bernardino County Court to order the City of Fontana to end what they saw as a illegal behavior. The doctrine of the separation of powers, they argued, calls the courts to strike down local legislation in conflict with California’s general law.
After weeks of deliberation, Judge David Cohn ruled in favor of the plaintiff. “The question in this case,” he said, “is how far a city can restrict the category of people allowed to grow marijuana plants and the circumstances under which they can grow these plants without breaking the law. the obligation imposed by [the state] the regulations are reasonable.The city of Fontana has gone too far. ”
Although the city of Fontana is a small community in California, Justice Cohn’s decision has important implications for the rest of the state and perhaps for others who have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. As already mentioned by Cannabis Wire, local authorities across the country have restricted access to legal cannabis by the municipal code. In California, most localities have banned open-air cultivation and dozens of cities require residents to register or obtain permits for personal use.
Hundreds of localities, including Fontana, have banned sales of cannabis for adult and medical use. For these residents, indoor cultivation is often the only legal way to obtain cannabis locally
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Under the Adult Marijuana Use Act (AUMA), residents of California are allowed to grow up to six plants in a private residence. However, since legislation allows local governments to regulate the growth of their homes, the consequences vary from one community to another.
For example, a Los Angeles resident who wants to grow cannabis for personal use is only 21, going to an authorized cannabis retailer, buying seeds and planting them at home. (Tenants, of course, may be subject to their owner’s policies.)
But in Fontana, a city of about 200,000 people located about sixty kilometers to the east, those who wanted to practice indoor culture were forced to undergo a much more complicated process.
First, they needed a permit. However, in order to be able to apply for it, residents could not have any action pending code enforcement or outstanding payments due to the city (such as an unpaid parking ticket). Nor could they have a conviction for possession of a controlled substance in the last five years.
If they met the conditions, residents of Fontana would then have to pay for a live scan of their fingerprints (between $ 11 and $ 70), then $ 25 for their file to be reviewed by the California Department of Justice. If they are tenants, they must also provide a signed and notarized affidavit to the city, in which their owners authorize the cultivation of cannabis on the property.
Then, the plaintiffs had to pay $ 411 and agree to have their home inspected by a city employee who was responsible for ensuring that all utilities in the house or apartment were compliant with the code. Upon receipt of the permit, residents of Fontana were required to pay a renewal fee of $ 253 per year.
Mike Harris, an ironworker and registered nurse, has been living in Fontana since 1987. After decades of physically demanding career, he has been injured several times and has required extensive medical procedures, including prosthetic reconstruction of hip and shoulder. In 2010, one of his doctors had recommended that he try cannabis to relieve his pain and arthritis. He therefore obtained a medical ID card.
The plant, said Harris to Cannabis Wire, has been shown to have fewer side effects