Byrd v. Fresno (Local Ban on Medical Marijuana Cultivation)
The ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed suit against the City and County of Fresno over complete bans on the cultivation and storage of medical marijuana. The bans are inconsistent with California’s 1996 voter-approved Compassionate Use Act, which allows seriously ill patients and caregivers to grow medical marijuana, and also with more recent legislation. The City and County also have banned all medical marijuana dispensaries.
The ACLU Foundation of Northern California suit argues that the Fresno ordinances are invalid because they are pre-empted by state laws. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the bans keeping sick residents from accessing medical marijuana.
Any Fresno resident in violation of the local ordinances can face steep fines, destruction of their medical marijuana and potentially even jail time.
The case was filed in California Superior Court for the County of Fresno.
On Sep. 29, 2014, the superior court ruled that because our clients may be entitled to injunctive and declaratory relief, it was not necessary for the court to issue the writ of mandate we had requested. The court did not rule on the merits of our case and specifically stated that its order “shall not effect the validity of the Verified First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief."
The Plaintiffs appealed the superior court’s ruling, but the Court of Appeal affirmed it. Plaintiffs have asked the California Supreme Court for review.
On Feb. 17, 2016, the California Supreme Court denied review.
The ACLU Foundation of Northern California is also involved in a similar case, Kirby v. Fresno.