Miranda Oley, 20, of Riverside protest on the corner of Twelfth Street in support of patients medical marijuana Wednesday November 2, 2011 in front of the Fourth District Courthouse in Riverside. (LaFonzo Carter/ Staff Photographer)

By Wes Woods II, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Created: 11/02/2011 02:55:01 PM PDT

RIVERSIDE – The 4th District Court of Appeal has 90 days to render a decision in a case involving the city of Upland’s ban of a medical marijuana dispensary operated by G3 Holistics.

A packed courtroom listened Wednesday afternoon to attorneys for both sides present their cases on whether Upland could ban such dispensaries.

A ruling by the court could set precedence for how cities and counties throughout California regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

“The court asked very good questions,” G3 attorney Roger Jon Diamond said. “The judges are smart and conscientious. I’m optimistic. The argument went very well.”

Upland attorney Mitchell Abbott declined comment.

The president of G3 Holistics is Aaron Sandusky.

On Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration, aided by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies and police, raided the Upland location and five others associated with Sandusky, which they believe are illegally selling marijuana to the general public.

An appellate court had previously issued a tentative opinion favoring Upland’s ban of the collective.

Abbott and Diamond presented their sides after submitting briefs to the court.

Diamond said cities and counties can limit – through zoning – where medical marijuana dispensaries are located but they cannot prohibit them.

His argument cited Proposition 215, the 1996 law that approved medical cannabis in the state, and Senate Bill 420, passed in 2003, which details the amount of marijuana a person can possess for medical purposes and sets guidelines for identification card programs.

“Legislation informed the issue of preemption,” Diamond said. “What legislation has done, the court should do.”

Diamond said it looked like cities were “intimidated by the federal government” in banning the dispensaries.

“We have to act as the federal law did not exist,” Diamond said. “Cities cannot argue to go to another city (if they ban medical marijuana). It’s inconsistent with … patient access.”

Federal law bans medical marijuana dispensaries.

Diamond pointed out adult businesses are regulated but not completely banned.

Meanwhile, Abbott said cities have the right to ban dispensaries and Diamond misrepresented what the voters wanted.

“The intent of the voters was to provide limited immunity from criminal prosecution,” Abbott said.

Abbott said Proposition 215’s intent was not about if the public has access to medical marijuana.

“Some cities outlaw horses,” Abbott said. “You can quibble if (laws) are wise or not.”

Abbott added people have the power of referendums or other means to challenge decisions.

Diamond rebutted Abbott’s comments and said the preamble to Proposition 215 made it clear people could “use marijuana where deemed appropriate.”

Upland City Attorney William P. Curley, who did not attend, said in a statement that “the city looks forward to the Court’s thorough review of the evidence and testimony and the opinion they will issue after their deliberations.”

Also heard Wednesday was a similar case involving the city of Riverside ban of dispensaries, specifically the Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center.

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