A unanimous ruling issued Monday by the California Supreme Court allows cities and counties to decide whether or not to allow medical marijuana dispensaries within their borders.
The ruling puts a simmering Union City controversy back on the front burner.
The court said the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, also known as Proposition 215, and a related 2003 state law do not require local governments to allow pot dispensaries inside their borders.
Currently, 44 California cities, including Oakland, Martinez, San Jose, San Francisco and Santa Rosa, allow and regulate dispensaries according to Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based marijuana advocacy group.
Another 193 cities, including more than 40 in the greater Bay Area, ban such dispensaries, according to the group.
Union City has wrestled with the issue since January 2012 when a medicinal pot dispensary tried to open up under the city's radar.
Though Union City City Attorney Benjamin Reyes was unavailable to comment on the California Supreme Court ruling late Monday afternoon, the city's past actions suggest that any hope for a local dispensary will go up in smoke.
Following the opening and subsequent shut down of Green Cross Care Center and, its later incarnation, CHA Wellness, the city established a moratorium on pot dispensaries to "protect the public health, safety and welfare" of the community. The moratorium was recently extended in January.
A formal ban on such establishments will likely come in the near future.
Patch editor Zoneil Maharaj contributed to this report.