LA City Council Approves New Medical Marijuana Law
The Los Angeles City Council Friday capped the number of pot shops at 100, with only those that opened on or before September 14, 2007, qualifying to enter a new lottery system that will determine who may continue to operate. The urgency ordinance approved on a 12-0 vote follows a judge's December ruling that struck down L.A.'s old ordinance as arbitrary and capricious. The L.A. City Council acted amid concerns that pot shops were sprouting back up across the city. “Already in my district, I have illegal operators who are already redecorating and remodeling their shops ready to reopen," Councilman Paul Krekorian of the San Fernando Valley said. Councilman Jose Huizar said illegal pot shops already were popping back up in his East L.A. district.
“It is affecting the quality of life," Huizar said. "The sooner we put this genie back in the bottle, it's going to improve the quality of life for thousands and thousands of Angelinos.” The new ordinance eliminates a grandfather clause that allowed as many as 187 pot shops in L.A. It retains restrictions that keep shops at least 1,000 feet away from schools, parks and churches. The law also creates a lottery to select the 100 that may remain open. Councilman Richard Alarcon said the lottery was a bad idea. “By doing a lottery, we are not able to select who the best providers will be," Alarson said. "We could literally end up with the worst providers of the bunch."
Alarcon ended up supporting the measure, and successfully lobbied the council to explore establishing and advisory council on medical marijuana. Medical marijuana advocates said the city's law remains too restrictive, and could prevent people who need pot from getting it. T.V. personality Montel Williams became emotional as he described how he desperately needed pot to treat pain caused by multiple sclerosis. “Every single one of those doctors has recommended for me to continue using marijuana because I came to a point that opiates don’t do it," Williams said. Williams is a national advocate for medical marijuana. He was arrested earlier this month for possession of a pot pipe at the Milwaukee Airport. Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian said he was sympathetic to medical marijuana users but thought the cap and other restrictions would prevent another explosion of pot shops. L.A. had as many as 1,000 at one point. "I for one am not comfortable with opening it up to the wild west again," Krekorian said
Washington Debates Big Changes To Medical Marijuana System
Some state lawmakers are proposing major changes to Washington's voter-approved medical marijuana system. The bill debated in the Senate health committee Thursday was proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle. It would give medical marijuana users more protections against arrest than they currently have.
The bill also would bring the supply chain of medical pot out of the current legal gray area. Under Kohl Welles' proposal, the state could license growers, processors and sellers of medical marijuana. Qualified patients could avoid arrest by showing proper documentation, and there would be a voluntary, secure registry of authorized patients. Right now, marijuana patients are only allowed to offer a defence in court if they're arrested and charged for possession.
N.J. Advocates For Medical Marijuana Blast Proposed Regulations
Medical marijuana advocates say the regulations New Jersey has proposed for medical pot don't make sense for businesses, patients or doctors. Advocates used a state Senate committee hearing today mostly to blast the proposed regulations, which had few defenders there. The hearing was a step in a rare constitutional manoeuvre the state Legislature is using to try to force Gov. Chris Christie's health department to come up with new regulations.
Some lawmakers say the rules drafted by the Christie administration don't follow the intent of the legislation that authorized medical marijuana. After the hearing, the next step is a vote to invalidate the regulations. That can't happen for at least 20 days.
Idaho lawmaker introduces medical marijuana bill
DEA: We Have Not Relaxed Our Policy on Medical Marijuana
The US Drug Enforcement Administration's "Position on Marijuana 2010" is a hot document. Dated to July, it didn't really start circulating until this January when activist Ed Rosenthal found his name in it.
Since then, the DEA link to the paper is gone, but aGoogle site search yields the file. Yesterday, the Marijuana Policy Project told supporters that the DEA's position paper labels the drug law reform group Enemy #1. But that's just a little bit of the 54-page collection of anecdotal Reefer Madness.
Thin on actual research, the littlescience the DEA cites is biased. The paper almost never discloses the number of patients in a study group, and can't cite much US research — ironically, because the DEA plays a role in ensuring such studies never get approved. But the paper does relate some sad drug war stories.
- “While some people [think] the federal government has relaxed its policy on 'medical' marijuana, this in fact is not the case. Investigations and prosecutions of violations of state and federal law will continue.”
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