A ruling on cannabis delivery services from the California court of appeals could have serious implications for the industry, and mean that Los Angeles potheads will soon have to get off their asses and go to a dispensary if they want to get legal weed.
An appellate panel upheld a lower court’s injunction against local app and delivery service Nestdrop Monday, which means the company will have to shut down for the time being, as reported by Leafly. The ruling could have major repercussions for other Los Angeles delivery services, which have over the last couple of years escaped the same scrutiny faced by storefront dispensaries.
The panel judges ruled that the city zoning regulation Proposition D actually forbids delivery services in Los Angeles. “Proposition D is properly understood to prohibit virtually all vehicular delivery of medical marijuana,” wrote Justice Lamar W. Baker.
This is a relatively new interpretation of Prop D. When the city adopted the proposition in 2013, hundreds of collectives were designated illegal operations and forced to shutter their doors. Many businesses who didn’t comply with Prop D managed to tread legal water anyway, but some changed up their game and transformed into harder-to-track delivery services.
It wasn’t until about a year later when the city started to turn its attentions to the blossoming marijuana delivery industry. That’s when the injunction was filed against Nestdrop. “This app is a flagrant attempt to circumvent the will of the voters who passed Prop D,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer in 2014.
The delivery service appealed the injunction, but the ruling this week upholds it, meaning Nestdrop isn’t going to be bringing us any edible gummies or gooey grams anytime soon, but the case isn’t over yet. It still has to go to trial court.
Nestdrop appealed. Monday’s ruling upholds the injunction and sends the case back to the trial court. But the message from Monday’s ruling is clear: delivery services are forbidden in the city, as per the city’s interpretation of Prop D.
Companies such as Nestdrop have argued for years that the proposition’s restrictions did not apply to them, but the court directly contradicted that notion, saying that, “We do not think the ballot pamphlet materials mean what defendants think they mean.”
The ruling could set a binding precedent in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. “Is there precedential value here that’s of concern for anybody? Yeah,” said attorney Michael Grahn, who represents Nestdrop as well as Speed Weed, an uber popular delivery service which is now being sued by the city attorney’s office..
Though things look bleak for weed delivery in the city of angels, Grahn says there are a couple of wildcards that could come into place. For one, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) which will completely restructure cannabis regulation in California in 2018 and potentially give businesses the opportunity to operate outside of Prop D compliance.
And besides, though it might be dicey to run a dispensary that isn’t Prop D legit, but that certainly hasn’t stopped many an entrepreneur from doing it anyway. So Angelinos aren’t going to be without a handy weed delivery app anytime soon. “The idea of banning this at the same time that they can’t even control the number of storefronts, it’s nonsense,” Grahn said.