California is fighting to continue offering cannabis delivery services, despite lawsuit

California is fighting to continue offering cannabis delivery services, despite lawsuit

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A landmark lawsuit that was initiated by local municipalities in California against the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) is making its way to trial. Cannabis business owners in California are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the lawsuit since it could put the brakes on their services.

In 2019, the BCC – an agency in charge of regulating cannabis in accordance with state law – was hit with a lawsuit by the County of Santa Cruz and 24 California cities. Additionally, Chief Lori Ajax was on the receiving end of the lawsuit, which was filed in an attempt to rescind a BCC policy that allows statewide cannabis product delivery.

Based on the argument from the plaintiff municipalities, cannabis delivery services should be prohibited in jurisdictions that have outlawed sales of the federally illegal substance.

Plaintiffs’ argument against California cannabis delivery services 

Included in the group of municipalities that are battling to eradicate California cannabis delivery services are the City of Beverly Hills, the County of Santa Cruz, City of Riverside and City of Temecula, to name a few. Ordinances have been adopted in each city/county that either forbids or regulates commercial cannabis business within their jurisdictions. 

Currently, statewide cannabis delivery is still legal as per the terms of Regulation 5146(d). Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that Regulation 5416(d) is not consistent with The Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA). 

“[MAUCRSA] shall not be interpreted to supersede or limit the authority of a local jurisdiction to…completely prohibit the…operation of one or more types of businesses licensed under [MAUCRSA] within the local jurisdiction,” the plaintiffs claim in their lawsuit. 

Moreover, the plaintiffs maintain that Regulation 5416(d) is not in accordance with statements outlined by proponents of Proposition 64, which states that the act should in no way impede the rights of local municipalities in regards to controlling cannabis-related activities. 

Defendants’ argument to salvage California cannabis delivery services 

Once the California cannabis delivery lawsuit was filed, a group of defendants hit back at the plaintiffs with a proclamation that said Regulation 5416(d) is consistent with MAUCRSA. The defendants cited Bus. & Prof. Code § 26090(e), which outlines how “a local jurisdiction shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads by a licensee acting in compliance with local law.”

According to the defendants, the purpose of MAUCRSA would be invalidated if statewide cannabis delivery is eliminated. Defending pleas to save California cannabis delivery services center around customer jurisdictions and how they cannot restrict delivery, even if their state has forbidden cannabis sales. 

No matter what the verdict may be for this California cannabis delivery lawsuit, it is probable that the case will be appealed. That being so, the appellate process could linger for years to come.