Wednesday, June 13, 2012

With a Ban on Dispensaries Seemingly Imminent, L.A. City Council Displays a Dedication to 'Do-Nothing' Politics

Now that the pending Los Angeles dispensary ban has been heard by two committees, clouds are gathering over the medical marijuana industry in one of the most progressive cities in the country.

This is despite the passioned testimony that can only be described as pleas by the sick to do something to preserve their supply of medical marijuana. The L.A. Daily News reported Michael Olivares, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, telling the Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee, "I am 28 years old and am 6-feet-1 and weigh 84 pounds. I almost died when I was 21 because of the drugs they had me on. The one plant that helps and keeps me alive is medical marijuana."

If Councilmen Jose Huizar and Mitch Englander have their way, all dispensaries in the city will be closed until the matter is resolved by the California Supreme Court — effectively kicking the can down the road, while denying those that need medical pot the most. According to their plan, those eligible for medical marijuana could still grow their own plants — though clearly, Olivares is not in any condition to cultivate pot. Also, learning to grow medical grade cannabis is a skill that takes years to learn.

An alternative by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Herb Wesson would leave 100 dispensaries open. Dispensaries that could service people like Olivares.

If anything Huizar and Englander's plan is the worst example of lawmaking and confirms the fears of Angelinos that their politicians are too scared, too entrenched in the status quo or just too uninterested to be bold and do the right thing.

As Scott Stenholm, a staffer on "Real Time with Bill Maher" wrote, "The resistance by some politicians to accept the decriminalization of marijuana (at the very least the medical kind) is a testament to the lack of insight and education in our leaders that gives them such a bad reputation in this age of 'do-nothing' politics."

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