Growers Face New Blow in CA Medical Marijuana Ruling

August 11, 2011

Is medical marijuana an agricultural crop?

In a decision observers say is the first time a court has addressed the question, a California Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that medical marijuana is a controlled substance, not an agricultural crop, and therefore marijuana collectives cannot operate in agricultural zones.

Tulare County Superior Court judge Paul Vortmann ruled that the Foothill Grower’s Association — a legal medical marijuana collective and dispensary operating in a building on land zoned for agricultural use — must vacate the building by noon Friday. Despite the ruling, medical marijuana advocates are fighting to classify the product as an agricultural crop under a proposed California ballot initiative in 2012.

Last month FRONTLINE and the Center for Investigative Reporting’s joint investigation The Pot Republic went inside California’s medical marijuana industry to reveal the mounting legal challenges for marijuana collectives — and just how hard medical marijuana advocates are willing to fight.

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