California pot shops face next existential crisis

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's medical marijuana dispensaries are preparing for the next word on how far state law goes in giving them a right to exist.

The state's highest court is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday on whether local governments can ban retail pot dispensaries within their borders. About 200 cities and counties already have, but this will be the first time the California Supreme Court entertains the question.

Medical marijuana advocates maintain that the state's medical marijuana laws, the nation's oldest, allow local governments to set limits on dispensaries, but not to outlaw them altogether.

The arguments come in a case out of Riverside, where city lawmakers used their zoning powers to ban storefront pot shops in 2010. One of the pot shops threatened with closure sued to stop the city from shutting it down.

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