New York City bans medical marijuana dispensaries
New York CITY — New York’s ban on medical marijuana sales has been blocked by federal judges in a case that could have wide-ranging implications for the nation’s drug-policy policy.
New York City’s Supreme Court blocked the city’s ban last week, a decision that could prevent states and cities from enacting laws similar to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed medical marijuana law.
In a statement, de Blasio called the decision a “major victory for New Yorkers.”
“I am proud that New Yorkers have finally prevailed and made New York the first major U.S. city to ban medical marijuana, which would have devastating effects on our communities,” he said.
“New Yorkers have shown they will fight for what they believe in and I am proud to stand with them.”
The decision from the 9th U.A. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday said the city has a compelling interest in protecting the health and safety of its residents, particularly children.
The court’s majority ruled that the city could not “banish” a class of marijuana users to the back of the line.
Instead, the court said, the city should be able to regulate and tax the drug so it can better protect its residents and its property.
“The vast majority of patients are not drug users,” the court wrote.
“But those who are are not the kind of people who can afford a dispensary.”
The ruling came a day after the city passed its first marijuana legalization measure in nearly a decade.
It now has some 3,600 dispensaries in New York and over 1,200 licenses for the cultivation and sale of the drug.
The ban on selling recreational marijuana came into effect Tuesday and is scheduled to take effect on July 1.
The city has no plan for how to regulate the growing and sale, distribution and use of medical marijuana.
The U.R.S., which regulates interstate commerce, has not yet announced any specific regulations.
Under federal law, any person who wants to purchase marijuana can do so anywhere in the United States, but the federal government does not have a set of rules for medical marijuana businesses.
Medical marijuana is currently illegal in 21 states and the District of Columbia.