California Supreme Court Rules San Diego Marijuana Law Required More Environmental Analysis

by on August 22, 2019 · 0 comments

in San Diego

Unanimous decision about 2014 law may limit local government discretion across California

By David Garrick / San Diego Union-Tribune / Aug. 19, 2019

SAN DIEGO — In a decision expected to limit the discretion of local governments across California, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday that San Diego failed to adequately analyze the potential impacts of its 2014 marijuana dispensary law. The court ruled unanimously that local governments, when adopting new laws or zoning changes, must analyze reasonably foreseeable changes those laws would make to the environment — even if the changes would be indirect.

San Diego, which declared that the 2014 law didn’t require any environmental analysis, needed to study whether allowing dispensaries might result in construction of new buildings or change citywide vehicle traffic patterns, the court ruled.

The Los Angeles attorney who filed suit against San Diego said the ruling would force the two-thirds of California cities that don’t allow marijuana businesses to conduct more rigorous environmental reviews if they eventually decide to allow such businesses. The attorney, Jamie Thomas Hall of the Channel Law Group, said the ruling also limits the ability of cities to streamline the state’s environmental laws to boost housing construction amid the ongoing affordability crisis.

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