Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pro-Access Groups, Patients and Unions Worked to Overturn L.A. Dispensary Ban

The Los Angeles Times reports that yesterday's repeal of the city council's dispensary ban demonstrates the growing clout of pro-pot organizers, unions and patients in the face of the anti-marijuana sentiment of the city's powers that be.

Rather than put the repeal of the ban on the upcoming ballot, the city council voted, 11 to 2, to get rid of the law entirely. (The issue will be voted on again at the next week because the measure did not pass unanimously.)

 The so-called "gentle ban" would have closed all dispensaries and only allow patients to grow their own marijuana, despite the protests and testimony of patients and patient groups that it's not practical for many of them to grow their own pot.

Testimony given by Bill Rosendahl, a councilman and medical marijuana user, also shifted support to repealing the ban.

"Where does anybody go, even a councilman go, to get his medical marijuana?" Rosendahl asked his colleagues.

Despite the support for the repeal, Councilmen Jose Huizar and Mitchell Englander voiced plans to move forward against the dispensaries. Englander, according to introduced a motion of enforcement against the storefronts and Huizar commented that the recent federal raids on Los Angeles dispensaries were "our relief."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Medical Marijuana Laws Change the Emerald Triangle — Not for the Better, Some Say

The growing acceptance of medical marijuana may have an unintended consequence — squeezing out the small scale, outdoor growers of California's famed Mendocino and Humboldt counties.

The pot grown in the area, prized by connoisseurs of cannabis, brings in less cash each year. The farmers in the area, who take pride in the organic way they grow their crops, blame the fall in price to large-scale indoor grow operations that supply the dispensaries, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"It used to be a contest to see who could drive the oldest pickup truck. There's just been this huge influx of folks who have money on their mind, instead of love of the land. A lot more gun-toters. A lot more attack dogs," one grower says.

The old timers, who funded schools, roads and fire stations in their remote towns, complain that the newcomers aren't interested in investing in their communities. But the irony doesn't end there. In many cases, parents are discovering that their children are behind some of the large pot grow houses.

Though they've pushed for legalization and the medical use of pot, the growers are discovering that now that they're on the verge of achieving what they've always wanted, it may put them out of business. Some of them suspect California's medical marijuana law was a ruse by Bay Area pot activists to monopolize the market with large scale growers in Oakland.

"Ultimately we worry about Winston or Marlboro getting some land and doing their thing. We see it time after time in America — big corporations come in and take over," another grower worried.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stop Federal Raids, Los Angeles Times Opines

The Los Angeles Times is siding with advocates of medical marijuana and is calling on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to stop the current federal crackdown on dispensaries in the city.

The newspaper also points a finger at the lack of legal guidance from Sacramento. The murky legal climate in Los Angeles surrounding dispensaries, with the city council attempting to ban all facilities in the city and the subsequent petition to keep them open, is a direct result of that absence of leadership. The state legislature and the state's attorney general, Kamala Harris, have failed to put in place regulations for the cities to follow.

While the L.A. Times recognizes that federal law enforcement agencies are under no obligation to follow state or city laws — and they've demonstrated that they consider medical pot to be illegal, despite the will of the states — the situation in the state's capital isn't helping either.

"...the raids are likely to drive away businesspeople who want to run clean, safe storefronts serving sick people, sending the trade further underground and into the hands of a more criminal element," the paper's editorial board wrote. "That's why we urge Holder to rein in the four California U.S. attorneys spearheading the aggressive new stance, at least until we have some clarity on what's allowable and what isn't."