Marijuana Dispensary Numbers in L.A. Much Lower Than City Claims, Says UCLA
L.A. City Councilman Says Dispensary Ban Enforcement Will Move Forward
Los Angeles City Coucilman José Huizar says in a new interview that city officials continue to move forward with plans to enforce the city’s medical marijuana dispensary ban, despite advocates recently turning in over 50,000 signatures for a ballot referendum to overturn the ban.
“When the 6th comes around,” Huizar said, “I don’t think people should expect a whole, big prohibitionist-style era. We go out there and close down dispensaries. The fact of the matter is, given the resources, we have to go in phases, and it’ll be a strategic approach. The Council’s a policymaker—the legislature—and now it’s up to the administrative arm of the city to enforce.
“Now, we understand we have this submission of signatures by [medical marijuana] advocates. If the signatures qualify, by our city charter, that means that our ‘gentle ban’ is put on hold until the voters decide. But the intention of the LAPD and our administrative arm of our city, from what I understand, is to continue with some enforcement actions. And they will do it under state law or our ‘sunset clause’ from our previous ordinance [under which medical marijuana dispensaries are not recognized as legitimate business entities]. Right now we have no ordinance, and according to state law all sales of marijuana are illegal. And I would say that a majority of these dispensaries are conducting sales of marijuana.
“Absent a ban that has been put on hold, it’s our city attorney’s position that the sunset clause goes into effect, and that only provides for three or fewer people to collectively grown their own [marijuana].
“So, whether we have the ban or not, the LAPD will continue with enforcement actions.”
By any means, Councilman Huizar plans on shutting down the medical marijuana industry in L.A.
Only Licensed Dispensary in San Diego County, CA Forced to Close by Feds
The Mother Earth Alternative Healing Co-Operative is the only medical cannabis dispensary licensed under San Diego County, California’s restrictive ordinance, but it is now being forced to close under threats from the federal government.
“Mother Earth” serves about 2,500 patients, who will soon be displaced when it comes to getting their medicine. Co-founder Bob Reidel says it’s been tough the past few weeks.
"I mean every day we're dealing with people walking through this building crying," said Reidel. "What are we going to do? How come they don't care? And what am I supposed to say to people like that."
“How come they don’t care?” A great question, but one many people have trouble answering. We know “Mother Earth” was helping 2,500 people, so who exactly are they harming?
According to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy: "It is not a defense to either criminal liability or to the forfeiture of property that the dispensary is providing 'medical marijuana.' The United States Attorney's Office supports eviction of the commercial marijuana businesses, like Mother Earth, that operate outside of federal law."
In other words, screw medical marijuana patients.
“Mother Earth” was able to forestall closure a couple months ago by filing for bankruptcy protection, but their legal maneuvering ran out Monday.
"We're going to keep fighting for it," said Reidel. "We're still a corporation, with no home. But, we can't stop this fight. We will stop dispensing and we will look for other legal means to reopen. Hopefully here. Maybe somewhere else that complies with the ordinance. We don't know."
The closure of “Mother Earth” will leave 70,000 patients in San Diego County without anywhere to get their medical cannabis, leaving the prospect of long trips out of county or the black market.
LA Marijuana Dispensary Ban Suspended
Medical Marijuana Activists in L.A. Submit 50,000 Signatures for Ballot Measure to Overturn Dispensary Ban
Medical marijuana activists in Los Angeles turned in about 50,000 voter signatures to the city clerk Wednesday, hoping to force a ballot referendum to repeal a recently passed ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. The ban was approved by the L.A. City Council last month.
Now the ordinance must be temporarily suspended, according to election officials in the city clerk's office. The signatures will then be verified against voter registration information. If they are found to be valid, the ban would be further suspended until voters get a chance to decide whether to keep it in place.
As an alternative to a total ban – which now looks very unlikely to stand - Councilman Paul Koretz is pushing for a new law that would allow 100 or so of the city's oldest and most established dispensaries to remain in business.
"The city needs a small number of well-regulated and patient-centered dispensaries," he said Tuesday. Without it, he said, "the city will be stuck with no rules and no protections again."
Leaving 100 dispensaries open is certainly better than closing them, but in the end, how many dispensaries are open should be primarily left to the market. The City Council needs to adopt a set of regulations, then let the market do the rest.
In fact, isn’t that one of the jobs of the city council? It’s certainly not their job to shut down 1,000 businesses and kill thousands of private sector jobs. Would you vote for a person for city council if they promised to destroy a few thousand jobs? Of course not. The voters of Los Angeles need to overhaul their City Council completely; these people are not fighting for you.
Berkeley, CA Dispensary Closed by Feds to Reopen Down the Street
A few months ago the Berkeley Patients Group – one of the most respected dispensaries in California – was forced from its original location by threats from the federal government.
But BPG has found a new location right down the street from the old one, and work has begun on a 14,000 square foot lot and dilapidated 1,200 square foot building that has been an eyesore for as long as most residents can remember.
The owner of the new property said she is not worried about threats from the federal government for renting to a medical marijuana outlet.
"Our property is not close to any school," said Nahla Droubi, who has owned the lot for 10 years. "The previous landlord had a very good experience with this group. He said they were very organized, and most important thing is they had no violations and great security."
The same could be said about Harborside Health Center in Oakland, but that didn’t stop the feds from threatening them.
The property owner also said that she talked to the Berkeley Police Department, the city attorney and neighboring landlords at the group's previous site down the street "and I heard they had no problems."
"It's good to see a business in that place because its been dead for a quarter century," said Herb Permillion, owner of a typewriter repair shop next door called California Office Machines. "I might have a concern about parking. Right now there is room on the street, but if they have a big overflow crowd, it could be tricky."
But another business owner nearby said they were worried that the dispensary would attract “riffraff.” A bigoted statement that just goes to show that there is much work still be done wiping the stigma from marijuana.
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