Salinas cannabis company sues Santa Cruz County over ban on out-of-area deliveries

Here’s the report

Santa Cruz County has “taken the untenable position of restricting our mobile delivery of regulated cannabis in clear violation of law,” Gavin Kogan, the company’s general counsel, said in a statement.

The legal challenge forms a new front in the ongoing turf war between local governments and the state over a rule allowing licensed retailers to deliver pot anywhere in California.

After recreational cannabis became legal in California in January 2018, many local jurisdictions — although, not Santa Cruz County — opted to ban the sale of cannabis altogether, leaving residents in vast swathes of the state unable to easily purchase pot products.

Cannabis industry groups and advocates complained that the local prohibitions created pot “deserts” where pot prohibition effectively continued.

In January, state regulators rolled out updated rules specifying that a licensed retailer is free to make deliveries to any address in the state — even in jurisdictions where the sale of cannabis is otherwise restricted or banned.

The rule was met with resistance from police chiefs and the League of California cities, who complained that unrestricted home deliveries create an unchecked market of largely hidden pot transactions while undercutting local control.

Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit challenging the county’s ordinance.


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