Matthew Pappas, the attorney who represented plaintiffs Ryan Pack and Anthony Gayle in the case that led to the City of Long Beach repealing its medical-marijuana ordinance, has issued the statement concerning his clients’ decision to abandon their argument that the former Long Beach ordinance allowing medpot dispensaries to operate (LBMC § 5.87) was preempted by federal law. We reprint the entirety of Pappas’s statement below:

The patients in Pack won at the appellate court level. The excessive permit fee, permitting, and permit lottery parts of 5.87 were deemed invalid by the appellate court. It was the City of Long Beach that asked the Supreme Court to review the Pack appellate decision—not the patients. When the City repealed Chapter 5.87, the issue the City had spent huge amounts of money asking the Supreme Court to review became moot. As a result, the City’s Petition was dismissed. The patients won at the appellate court level and they won today when the Supreme Court dismissed the City’s petition for review.

Long Beach should have, following the decision by the appellate court in Pack, severed the few provisions of Chapter 5.87 that were deemed illegal. Instead, it asked for review and then made moot its own case before the Supreme Court by repealing 5.87. This is further evidence of the incompetence in the City Attorney’s office as well as the outrageous behavior of council members who care more for themselves and their political aspirations than the citizens they are supposed to be serving.

How many of the absolutely horrible roads in Long Beach could have been repaired using the millions of dollars the City has spent on just this issue? How many school books could have been purchased with the thousands of dollars spent by the City Attorney trying to get the Supreme Court to grant review? How many dollars will taxpayers have to pay out because Shannon and the police engaged outrageous tactics raiding collectives, destroying cameras, and injuring patients? Why was all of that money spent when Long Beach has a medical marijuana tax law—LBMC Chapter 3.80.260? Under 3.80.260 (which taxes medical cannabis at 15%), Long Beach could be generating much needed tax dollars for road repairs or schools or public safety. Instead, it has spent money it doesn’t have making utterly incompetent decisions. It has also exposed future millions of tax dollars because of discriminatory actions it has taken against patients.

Most of LBMC Chapter 5.87 was effective and innovative regulation. The patients in Pack have never suggested otherwise. To the contrary, the patients and advocates supporting the Pack case have always said that most of 5.87 was a very good law. It was after Robert Shannon “took a knife” to the first version of 5.87 passed by the Council in January, 2010 that the law became “warped” to include the provisions later stricken by the appellate court. The City has Robert Shannon to thank for those changes made between January and March, 2010 that led to the bad parts of 5.87 and the subsequent millions of dollars spent by the City.

At least 98% of Chapter 5.87 remained valid following the appellate court decision. Only a few tiny provisions and the outrageous permit lottery system conducted using a trash can were stricken by the appellate court. However, on October 6, 2011, Robert Shannon stated to the press that, “you could read this decision (Pack)” as meaning the City could completely ban all collectives. It was clear from that moment on that his intent was to do just that – ban all collectives. He knew the appellate court did not require the City to ban. He knew most of 5.87 remained valid. Yet he decided to waste huge sums of taxpayer money to create a ban of all collectives. After all of the money spent as well as the illegal raids and attacks, Long Beach must again follow the spirit of the appellate court order that prevents it from implementing illegal and improper laws.

The City should reinstate 5.87. When it does, it cannot impose improper, unfair, and illegal provisions that are, as former Long Beach Councilwoman Tonia-Reyes Uranga said in March, 2010, “pretty much a sham” designed to close all collectives. Pack can no longer be an excuse for cities to outright ban but it does remain, at least for Long Beach, a bar to the improper and outrageous behavior the City exhibited previously under the bad parts of 5.87 that Mr. Shannon insisted be included in March, 2010.

Robert Shannon advocated that the City petition the Ca. Supreme Court for review. He spent tons of money on that process. He thereafter told the council it had to repeal 5.87 rather than just remove the few parts deemed invalid by the appellate court. He also told the City Council it had to ban all collectives and pass Chapter 5.89 as an emergency measure. Those decisions by Bob Shannon—the guy that wanted to spend the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars getting before the Supreme Court—are what made the case moot. By repealing 5.87, Shannon simply canceled out the Petition he’d filed. And, now that the Supreme Court has dismissed its review of Pack, the appellate court’s order that Long Beach pay the patients’ costs will lead to thousands of additional dollars taxpayers must come up with.

Robert Shannon, through the entire medical marijuana debacle in large-part caused by him, has cost city taxpayers millions and millions of dollars. Those tax dollars do not exist to ensure Bob Shannon’s feelings about medical marijuana are imposed on others. After all, he is paid more than $250,000.00 per year to work for Long Beach. Prohibition is wrong and Long Beach citizens support patients despite Mr. Shannon’s personal animus. He needs to resign or Long Beach voters need to recall and replace him. They also need to seriously weigh whether the “lobbyist-happy” city council members and Mayor, all of whom act like royalty rather than serve their constituents, should remain in office. The entire city government needs to be shaken-up because they are supposed to serve Long Beach citizens—not the other way around.