Court: California cities can ban pot shops

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that municipalities have the authority to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, a road Mayor Bob Filner said he hopes San Diego won't travel.

In a 7-0 ruling in a case that involved the city of Riverside, the high court found that the Compassionate Use Act passed by voters in 1995 gave users a limited protection against arrest, but did not bar cities from regulating dispensaries.

"I don't like it, but that's the ruling," Filner said. "I would hope that our city would move to regulated access."

The mayor recently proposed regulations that would enable storefront dispensaries to operate in San Diego.

The San Diego City Council voted to pursue tighter restrictions than what the mayor offered. The City Attorney's Office is drafting an ordinance, which could be available for public vetting in about a month.

The Riverside case has been viewed as a test case. Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group that backs medical marijuana, estimates that pot shops have been banned in about 200 California cities.

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