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California has entered a potentially landmark legal fight against some of its own cities over one of the most basic questions in the nation’s largest legal marijuana market: Where can you buy it?

Beverly Hills and 24 other local governments sued California regulators Friday to overturn a rule allowing home deliveries statewide, even into communities that banned commercial cannabis sales. Ultimately at issue is who is in charge: the state bureaucracy that oversees the market or local governments where cannabis is grown and sold.

When California adopted the delivery rule in January, the League of California Cities and police chiefs complained that unrestricted home deliveries would create an unchecked market of largely hidden cannabis transactions, while undercutting local control guaranteed in a 2016 law broadly legalizing cannabis sales.

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ryan Coonerty said in a statement that the state rule damages local cannabis businesses and “betrays the promise made to the voters,” in 2016.

The significance of the lawsuit goes beyond home deliveries. It represents an important early court test of Proposition 64, the law that legalized cannabis sales for adults in California. There have been numerous disputes over the precise meaning of certain parts of the law, including those governing the size of cannabis farms.

The state Bureau of Cannabis Control, which wrote the rule, had no immediate comment on the lawsuit filed late last week in Fresno County Superior Court.

The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the rule and prohibit state regulators from enforcing it.

The rule “permits commercial cannabis deliveries to any physical address in the state,” which conflicts with the authority of local governments to prohibit cannabis deliveries within their boundaries, the lawsuit claims.

Cannabis companies and consumers had pushed for home deliveries because vast stretches of the state have banned commercial cannabis activity or not set up rules to allow legal sales, creating what’s been called cannabis “deserts”- residents in those areas were effectively cut off from legal cannabis purchases.

Because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, it cannot be sent through the U.S. Postal Service. But people can get it delivered to their door in California. Under state rules, all cannabis deliveries must be performed by employees of a licensed retailer. As of now, regulators say there are 311 active licences to deliver pot in the state.

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/25-cities-suing-california-over-marijuana-policy-allows-unrestricted-delivery-n991621  

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