Rally Against L.A. Countys Dispensary Ban on December 7th
Our friends at CA NORML are urging everyone to join a planned protest against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors decision to ban medical cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated parts of the county - an area that covers some 1.5 million people.
The rally will take place on Tuesday, December 7th starting at 9 a.m. in front of the L.A. Board of Supervisors’ building at 500 W. Temple St. (between Hill and Grand). The event is being organized by Americans For Safe Access.
Make your voice heard and let the Board of Supervisors know they are making a mistake – one that will hurt countless patients.
Medical pot co-op drops plans
The operator of an already approved medical marijuana dispensary withdrew his business license application yesterday just before the Board of Supervisors was set to discuss reversing an earlier decision to grant it.
Bradley Ehikian, who was poised to operate the Peninsula’s first permitted dispensary, said San Mateo County’s commitment to providing legal medical marijuana does not match his own.
“The county simply does not have the will to allow any facility in the county,” Ehikian said.
In October, Ehikian was granted a business license for the Sans Souci Medical Collective in a 14,000-square-foot building at 2676 Bay Road in the unincorporated area near Redwood City’s Fair Oaks neighborhood. But Sheriff Greg Munks, District Attorney Jim Fox and 39 residents who were worried about the size and location appealed the license board decision to the Board of Supervisors.
After hours of waiting for other items — the 10 a.m. appeal wasn’t heard until close to 1 p.m. — Ehikian made the matter moot by ending an effort he said has taken 17 months and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Ehikian wanted to honor the memory of his mother and grandmother with what he said would be a high-standard medical clinic with a research aspect. Although he and lawyer Ted Hannig said they believe the county’s position flies in the face of state law, he didn’t want to spend further time in vain.
“We do this because we are committed to the cause but we also know our commitment is not enough to overcome the lack of commitment on the part of law enforcement,” Ehikian said.
Munks, speaking after Ehikian’s withdrawal, said the Ehikian family’s intentions were honorable but was concerned future operators may not be as honorable.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Munks and Fox argued that the large-scale scope of the operation made it unlikely to fit the definition of a legal collective.
Munks calculated the operation could dispense 11.4 tons annually based on a maximum of two ounces per day for up to 500 members.
While there are few hard and fast rules about the definition of a collective in a May 2009 county ordinance, it is widely assumed members will participate in the growing and harvesting in return for use. Sans Souci anticipated so many members it was unlikely all or even most would do anything other than collect and use its product, Munks and Fox argued.
Ehikian said he understood the county’s desire to limit “fly by night” dispensaries but insisted his plan was to offer a vital service to those with medical, not recreational, need.
Hannig also said the county would be better off with one large high-quality clinic rather than smaller facilities possibly run by less scrupulous operators.
Aside from the dispensary itself, Hannig told the board it should consider a systemic conflict of interest by having Munks weigh in on the license board vote, act as an appellant and ultimately as a law enforcement official charged with safety at the dispensary.
San Mateo County and its cities have a mixed approach to medical marijuana dispensaries. While some jurisdictions such as the county and the cities of San Mateo and San Carlos regulate them, others banned them outright.
LA City Council approves new medical marijuana clinic rules
The L.A. City Council spent much of the past couple of years in a back-and-forth effort to come up with rules to govern medical marijuana dispensaries.
First, city council members discovered that nearly a thousand dispensaries had opened in Los Angeles after they'd imposed a moratorium on the facilities. It turned out the moratorium had a loophole, and new dispensaries were popping up like... well, like weeds.
The council moved to close hundreds of those dispensaries – and to close loopholes that might let some stay open. They passed a wide-ranging ordinance that governed who could dispense medical marijuana – and where.
The city's new medical marijuana ordinance passed a few months back would have wiped out all but 40. But many owners of legally registered dispensaries complained that they'd followed the city's rules – but still had to close.
Council member Janice Hahn led the effort to pull back the reins a bit. "We felt like our original ordinance needed to be clarified a bit more so that the city attorney does not go after clinics that we think are legitimate."
Now the council is giving final approval to amendments that relax the rules a bit. Hahn says the city's intent is to have about 180 medical marijuana dispensaries operating legally in Los Angeles.
None of them are allowed within a thousand feet of schools and churches. The new ordinance gives dispensary operators six more months to comply.
Marijuana Dispensary Ban in Parts of LA & Orange Counties
The Los Angeles County Board Of Supervisors on on Tuesday will consider the proposal to ban medial marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county, which would cover a territory with about a population of 1.5 millions people.
The motion is the first step toward revisiting the counties 4 year old policy on the dispensaries, which are allowed with strict rules on their locations, they cannot be within 1,000 feet of churches, day care centres, libraries and any other public places.
Some supervisors have expressed concern that the dispensaries could attract crime. Another factor on them is the city of LA’s recent aggressive push to shut down dispensaries that are illegal under a city ordinance that took effect four weeks ago, raising concern that the dispensaries would be searching for new homes.
How’s that “No on Prop 19″ working out for you, “Stoners Against Legalization”? You helped strike down an initiative that would have recognized a right to sell marijuana and would have prevented state and local agencies from interfering with lawfully cultivated cannabis. Sure, LA and OC weren’t likely to open up any Prop 19 recreational-use stores, but the language of 19 would have given existing medical-use stores some better ammunition in court to defend themselves.
Medical marijuana dispensaries banned in unincorporated L.A. County
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.
The board also voted unanimously to develop a plan for stepped-up enforcement against shops that opened without a permit.
"Why don't you use everything you have to get them the hell out of unincorporated areas?" Supervisor Gloria Molina asked county staff.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky authored the proposal for stepped-up enforcement against a small number of unpermitted shops in unincorporated areas, but he said an outright ban would unfairly harm patients with a legitimate need. Yaroslavsky was the lone vote against the ban.
"This is not some sort of scheme or scam. This is not some sort of joke," Yaroslavsky said, noting that he had seen marijuana help friends afflicted with cancer.
The ban must be read again at a future meeting for final approval, and then would go into effect about 30 days later. Aides to Supervisor Mike Antonovich said the ban could be in place by the end of the year.
Medical marijuana dispensaries targeted in Orange County
Medical marijuana dispensaries and marijuana delivery services should be banned along with the sale and distribution of marijuana within unincorporated Orange County, according to a county staff recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
The recommendation, which would impose a $1,000 fine per day for violations, is up for consideration at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Currently, Orange County does not have any laws on the books for regulating the permitting or establishment of medical marijuana collectives. The California attorney general set up guidelines that require dispensaries register as a nonprofit, obtain a seller’s permit and supply security, among other conditions.
The county’s lack of action to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries has created an opportunity in unincorporated Orange County where cooperatives are setting up shop without strict rules and regulations, county CEO Tom Mauk told supervisors in September.
“OC Public Works believes any land use permitting of medical marijuana stores, collectives and/or cooperatives would be a public health, safety and welfare concern and most likely lead to unequitable concentration of these uses with specific Orange County unincorporated areas,” OC Public Works DirectorJess Carbajal wrote in his recommendation.
The OC Public Works recommendation to ban medical marijuana collectives is echoed by Sheriff’s Department position that the bulk of collectives are selling to the general public, and therefore breaking California law.
Federal law bans the use, possession and sale of marijuana
Law enforcement officials accuse many dispensaries of hiding behind the guise of providing medicine to patients to operate highly profitable businesses that can pull in millions of dollars of profit a year.
Crimes at dispensaries are often not reported to law enforcement, Sheriff’s Lt. Adam Powell wrote in an Oct. 7 letter to Public Works, as a way to protect the business from detection.
But dispensaries’ large inventories of cash and drugs have made them attractive targets for armed robbers and burglars.
Four men in ski masks tunneled into a Laguna Hills dispensary from a neighboring business in April, Powell wrote. The dispensary had been broken into two weeks before, but the owner didn’t report it.
The owners of a Westminster medical marijuana dispensary were the victims of an armed takeover robbery, but did not report it and refused to cooperate with police, Powell wrote.
Marijuana storefronts have added bullet resistant glass, fortified locked doors and sophisticated surveillance equipment. Orange County dispensary owners have also been the target of home invasion robberies.
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