In a case it heard on the USF campus earlier this year, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously on May 6 that local governments can ban medical marijuana dispensaries.
The state’s highest court heard arguments in the case of City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center at USF on Feb. 5, as part of celebrations for the USF School of Law’s 100th anniversary. The justices were also on a statewide tour to help educate California residents about the judiciary.
The court ruled that Riverside can ban marijuana dispensaries through zoning regulations. About 200 California communities have similar zoning laws that prohibit cannabis dispensaries.
Many USF students watched as lawyers argued the case before the justices. “The excitement was palpable,” said Adam Karageorge JD ’15. “It feels like you are a part of something very important,” said Amber Eklof JD ’15. “I had seen them one other time down at the Supreme Court building, and that almost made me want to be a judge. So having them come here and argue in front of all the students, it was really exciting.
The California Supreme Court hears only about 1 percent of the 5,000 cases it is asked to review each year, Associate Justice Ming Chin ’64, JD ’67 told students in a question–and-answer session during the campus visit. “Most of the time we spend deciding what to decide,” he said.
It was déjà vu for Chin: he was hearing the Riverside case in the same building where he had worked as a resident assistant to help put himself through law school. “I had many awful meals in this room,” he joked about the McLaren Conference Center, which was then Phelan Hall’s cafeteria. “I have many fond memories of my seven years here on the Hilltop,” he continued on a more serious note. “I’m deeply grateful to all of my professors here at USF for being such terrific role models and being such an important part of my life and career.”