L.A. Council Says Pot Shops Could Accept Cash

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  L.A. Council Says Pot Shops Could Accept Cash

Posted by CN Staff on November 25, 2009 at 04:40:49 PT
By John Hoeffel 
Source: Los Angeles Times 

Los Angeles -- Dispensaries in Los Angeles could continue to accept cash for medical marijuana under a provision approved by the City Council on Tuesday, after it adopted language carefully crafted to maneuver past the city attorney's adamant position that state law bars the sale of the drug.Plowing through more than 50 proposed changes to its draft medical marijuana ordinance, the council also signaled that it would probably cap the total number of dispensaries at between 70 and 200.
The council asked city officials to return next Wednesday with studies on caps and on restrictions that would keep dispensaries either 500 feet or 1,000 feet from places such as schools and parks. The council also added new restrictions on dispensaries and rejected efforts to loosen requirements.By the close of the daylong session, the council had made substantial headway on an issue that has bedeviled it for years.With a judge's recent ruling that the city's moratorium on dispensaries was invalid, the city has almost no control over the hundreds that have opened.The council, which avoided the word "sales" on the advice of its lawyers, decided that Los Angeles would allow "cash contributions, reimbursements and compensations" as long as they comply with state law.Council President Eric Garcetti stepped in to negotiate the provision after an extended discussion. "We have some very elegant and flexible language that will adjust as state law is defined," he said.City Atty. Carmen Trutanich and Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley had urged the council to explicitly ban the sale of marijuana.William Carter, the chief deputy city attorney, said his office was following state law and recent court decisions, which led to the conclusion that collectives could only cultivate marijuana, not sell it. "Until they change the law, what we're stuck with is this collective model, not the drive-through Starbucks model," he said.Several members harshly criticized the city attorney's office. Councilman Ed Reyes, who oversaw the effort to write an ordinance, accused the office of pressing "a political point of view that has nothing to do with objective advice," while Councilman Paul Koretz, who helped write the state law as an assemblyman, said: "I think we're getting advice from one direction."Council members expressed a clear interest in caps, most likely distributed among the city's 21 police divisions.The council, though, remains unsure whether to give preference to the 186 dispensaries that registered with the city when the moratorium was adopted in 2007. Councilman Richard Alarcon said he saw nothing "magic" in the number, while Councilwoman Janice Hahn said it would be "fair and reasonable" to favor those who had followed the law.The council rejected an amendment from Koretz and Reyes that would have required the police to get a court order to review the records kept by dispensaries.Councilman Jose Huizar and several other members objected vociferously to the proposal, saying that they feared it would undermine efforts to try to cull bad dispensaries.The city attorney's office and the Police Department, noting that other cities have similar requirements, argued that ready access to the records was essential to determine whether the collectives were following the law. "An inspection is problematic if you create too many limits on it," LAPD Cmdr. Pat Gannon said.The council asked city officials to draft language to ensure that police have no access to patient medical records. The council also had a heated discussion about whether to eliminate the ordinance's requirement that collectives possess no more than five pounds of marijuana and grow it on-site.Huizar argued against the change. "We are encouraging a black market," he said. "This is a dangerous path."Exasperated, Reyes shot back that the current restriction would not work. "I'm not advocating for the black market, gangs, cartels to take advantage of this," he said, "But we can't choke it to the point where it does not function."Reyes then withdrew his amendment and asked Huizar to come up with an alternative.The council also approved an amendment to limit operators to one dispensary and an amendment to limit patients and caregivers to membership in one collective, but allow for emergency purchases.The restriction on membership drew protests from medical marijuana advocates. "If you go to your favorite dispensary, and they're out of what you need, you have to go someplace else," said Degé Coutee, the head of a patient group.The council readily adopted a series of amendments, most of them offered by Koretz and borrowed from West Hollywood, that added more protections for neighborhoods. Dispensaries would be required to have unarmed security guards who would patrol a two-block area, to provide a contact name to police and residents who live within 500 feet, and to deposit cash once a day.The council also called on the state attorney general to clear up the confusion over whether state law allows the sale of marijuana. Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown issued guidelines on medical marijuana last year, but several court decisions since then have raised questions about his conclusion that properly operated nonprofit dispensaries may be legal.Brown's interpretation came up several times as the city attorney's office, council members and some speakers cited a local radio announcer's report that the attorney general had said all sales were illegal. A spokesman for Brown said the report was inaccurate and Brown has not changed his position.The council also tangled over an amendment to put a $100,000 cap on salaries at dispensaries. It was offered by Alarcon, who said the dispensary downstairs from his office was making $12,000 a day."That's a lot of money," he said. "That's too much money."The council decided to try to find another way to limit salaries, such as applying standards set by United Way.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: John HoeffelPublished: November 25, 2009Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #20 posted by FoM on November 26, 2009 at 18:35:23 PT
We had a wonderful day. I got to see my niece who has advanced lung cancer. She said she got to take 3 puffs on a marijuana cigarette recently and she said in front of everyone that she hadn't felt that good in a long time. We must change the law. It's insanity to allow people to suffer when there is no need.
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Comment #18 posted by rchandar on November 26, 2009 at 12:25:21 PT:

Hemp, Ducks, and Peach Pie
Hello All--Just wanted to wish all of you a happy day. Hope that, wherever you are, you get a good toke out of it all. Surround yourself with music, love, and lots of pleasant light. Congratulate yourself on having braved one of the most sinister and disgusting battles that take place every day--in your mind, and when surrounded by those who would make decisions for us without the benefit of our will.Have a good day. Fidelis!
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on November 26, 2009 at 10:51:37 PT

I see the fire and lightening. I hear the thunder.
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Comment #16 posted by museman on November 26, 2009 at 10:06:28 PT

I see progress and hope in completely different areas than the cannabis movement, and know and believe that the only real progress towards balance and sanity in anything that has been made corrupt on planet earth exists within the will of conscious humans- the movement towards cannabis liberty is more a manifestation of that, than anything else.However, the easy willingness to accept the continuation of domination and rule by corrupt humans whose only claim to power is birthright and money, totally negates the actual progress that non-compromising, free people have labored for for so long.Many are thankful for the table scraps we have wrested from the greedy hands of the elite, and feel it some cause for celebration, but I see the fascist police state -not diminishing in ANY DEGREE, but becoming more. And that is a storm I cannot ignore.Many are easily assuaged by the many silver-tongued liars who claim to represent our interests in their bid for money and glory, but I thunder at the thought, and if the essence of whatever truths I can impart strikes hard and directly on the spot -like lightning- that needs the purge of fire to make it true and whole again, then I have done my work.Runruff is a 'cartwheel' kind of guy. We all appreciate his humor, and my many decades of friendship testifies to more than meets the eye. I, on the other hand, am a stormy, thunder and lightning kind of guy, and yet somehow I can laugh with my friend and still state the severity of the truth with the same reception from him that I receive his incredible wit and humor.Together we cover a lot of ground in the connection between our seemingly wide ranging polarity.The amping up of our illegal, unconstitutional standing army of military trained thugs and killers called 'police,' is not a cause for cartwheels, it is cause for much concern.
The fact that ultimately it is their last gasp is celebratory, but the amount of damage and suffering they are going to inflict before the people remove them from power is dire and foreboding like a dark storm on the horizon.There is such a thing as 'tough love' which, depending on your point of reference means that coddling, capitulating, and allowing bad behavior to continue because to fight means loss of personal security, or personal property and goods, is not love or compassion, but foolhardiness that the powers that be will take full advantage of before we rise up and remove them -by sheer consciousness-.Behind the storm, and after the rain comes the rainbow, the air is clean and fresh, and at least temporarily -until the next storm becomes necessary in the nature of things- the surface corruptions get washed away and cleansed, but until the cause of the corruption is removed, rest assured the stormy, thunder and lightning will return again and again.END CANNABIS APARTHEID -REPEAL PROHBITION!!!

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Comment #15 posted by runruff on November 26, 2009 at 05:09:06 PT

My guess is...
and I know I'm right!He is a lawyer. A lawyer of the worst kind, a DA!All DA's are elitist and en-titlist. It comes from dealing with the wretched masses created by prohibition and horrible fed policies invented to serve their corporate masters.I first began to realize how corrupt the wod had become when our own Tim Thompson now of Salem, was outed as an indoor gentleman farmer. Now I realize that DA's Like this one, Are holding on to high profits that would disappear for them overnight. That the people who pay them to look the other way will stop paying. That and that they hate to see rubble classes acquire wealth. More wealth than they get is intolerable.During the Viet Nam war I was changing the bandages on a recent amputee who had lost both legs in a booby trap [Claymore mine]. he was a Sargent about 35 years old.
He told me one day about the changes he now felt about the war? He reminded me of these prohibs and elitist DA's.He said, I used to go through bombed out villages and drag villagers out of the hills for interrogating. We would find them eating and feeding their kids fish heads boiled in rice. We witnessed women cutting meat from dead carcasses lying beside the road and we thought, how disgusting these people are, so primitive! Then he choked up and tears filled his eyes and I ask him if he was in pain? He said no! I just realized that we were the reason these people had to live this way because we destroyed all there food and shot their animals and burned their homes and rice fields. They were starving and eating rancid meat because of us!
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Comment #14 posted by EAH on November 25, 2009 at 21:30:36 PT:

The LA City council is trapped between the state MANDATING access to medical cannabis, the overt belligerant hostility of the DA, the real patients, the public that wants this, the public that doesn't, their own ignorance, confusion and the national publicity. They're frantic to "fix" this but they let it go too far without acting. Now they want to go backwards.I suspect they have no authority to cap salaries. If they try, there will surely be lawsuits. Maybe they think that their authorizing cash transactions gives them the right. Something tells me there's no precedent.It seems that no one in power gets it or can see clearly. Dispensaries sell at 
black market rates. Actually their rates are often higher than street prices. If there was no prohibition, there would be no black market. Without prohibition cannabis could be grown outdoors at the highest quality levels fairly cheaply. Indoor only exists because of prohibition. Without black market prices indoor would be much too expensive to grow. Nobody grows wine grapes indoors, no matter how much control it would give them, because it costs too much, even for the more expensive wines.They fret and wring their hands about sales for cash and profits, yet no one connects the dots. Cannabis is a prolific weed that would be cheap without prohibition. They cling to the notion that they can isolate the medical cannabis world from the black market cannabis world. They can't, and if they succeed in somehow limiting dispensaries and separating the medical supply from gray or black market sources they will have succeeded in creating a 
legal marketplace for black market prices and a few lucky winners. They seem to wish that medical cannabis was provided by nuns bound by an oath of poverty. That's not how America works.If the DA is so certain cannabis sales are a crime, why wasn't he prosecuting 
dispensaries regularly as they opened? Why does it matter so much now?
Are there other crimes you can do indefinitely in plain sight he won't act on either? These people are nuts.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on November 25, 2009 at 21:08:23 PT

Yes, Runruff...
But those might not be changes she can really "believe in".:0)It's strange. I can see storm clouds and hear thunder and lighting in some of Museman's post. It seems like I can see you doing cartwheels in this one.
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Comment #12 posted by runruff on November 25, 2009 at 19:57:03 PT

I am changing like crazy!
Today I changed my religion, twice!I have applied to an astrological makeover service who will change my astrological sign from Libra to Leo for $25.00!I changed my mind once today! I even cleaned it with mental floss to prevent truth decay!I am changing my aura tomorrow to match my new green parka!Lots of change happening here!
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on November 25, 2009 at 19:33:38 PT

I hope you and everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving Day. We've come a long way in a short time. This past November we only hoped but now change is happening. It's change I can believe in.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on November 25, 2009 at 19:20:29 PT

The city council can decide and cap salaries for businesses... the dispensaries? What's that about? I didn't know city councils did things like that. That seems so out of line and so wrong. I never heard of such a thing."The council also tangled over an amendment to put a $100,000 cap on salaries at dispensaries. It was offered by Alarcon, who said the dispensary downstairs from his office was making $12,000 a day."That's a lot of money," he said. "That's too much money."The council decided to try to find another way to limit salaries, such as applying standards set by United Way."
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on November 25, 2009 at 19:14:15 PT

FoM, I hope you all have a great and loving time.All the rest of you, too.As reformers, we've seen a lot of good happen, things to be very thankful for, since last Thanksgiving. It's nice to imagine how much better things might be by next Thanksgiving. Whoo hoo!Everybody have a good, safe time.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 25, 2009 at 18:30:49 PT

News Article From The LA Times
Villaraigosa Urges Limit on Medical Marijuana DispensariesNovember 25, 2009URL:,0,7295371.story
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on November 25, 2009 at 09:16:08 PT

Just a Song
I am listening to the Moody Blues today and I thought some here might enjoy hearing this song called New Horizons.New Horizons ~ Moody Blues
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 25, 2009 at 08:40:22 PT

Tomorrow I will meet my youngest nephew's wife. She is confused by everything right now. She asked how do you get hot water upstairs. She asked how do you use a washer and a dryer since she has always washed clothes by hand. I will meet my great niece that is about 6 months old and we are having a big family gathering to celebrate their new life together. It will be the best of days because I will be taking a good time with me.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on November 25, 2009 at 08:26:56 PT

FoM and everyone else
have a nice holiday.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 25, 2009 at 08:22:23 PT

Happy Holidays Everyone
I hope everyone has a wonderful time this Thanksgiving weekend. I am thankful for our new President and how he is allowing state's with medical marijuana to work it out themselves. I hope everyone has a great time with friends and family.
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on November 25, 2009 at 07:33:33 PT

Paul when I saw this
article on the wire this morning you were my first thought.HOME RULE SHOULD RULE !!!!!!
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Comment #2 posted by paulpeterson on November 25, 2009 at 07:28:27 PT:

Odd that "Home Rule" comes up again
I've been talking about "Home Rule" powers for some time-here in sleepy little Storm Lake, Iowa-where I have been battling the Buena Vista County Supervisors, over whether they have HOME RULE POWERS-to pass a local ordinance, effectively decriminalizing marijuana possession, even though this might be a matter of "Statewide" interest.I've been effectively BANNED from the county board, by them stating my request (last agenda meeting 11/24/09-about a DAY AGO), wasn't an "agenda item", ie: stay away, pothead, sort of (no, they didn't use those words, but they fit).And now, HOME RULE is a matter of statewide concern in the battleground state of Colorado, where a wild-west fight is occurring over whether they can keep folks like me outa Dodge, or whether these rights belong in BOOT HILL.Meanwhile, for those sports fans that have enquiring minds, in my federal civil rights case, still on file and still languishing in the local Sioux City District Court, a whole POSSE of local goon cop agents have all LIED AGAIN, in a whole bevy of affidavits, where they all have CIRCLED THE WAGONS, to all state nobody has ever lied, or filed false affidavits, or FALSIFIED OR TAMPERED WITH EVIDENCE, nope, not them-they have committed new crimes of deception, to try to weasle out of being caught red handed with their tongues stuck to the same, sorry, sad, staid, frozen pole of deceptive police practices, MERELY TO STOP PROGRESS in these here hills, East of the Missouri River, and thats that.And so, as the sun sinks slowly into the West, our erstwhile hero (that would be me, folks) figors that the deal is done, the eagle has landed, all hope is lost, now that all the goons have circled and they probably caught Judge Roy Bean with his beans where he shouldntahad been beaned, if that makes sense to the cagey, here, eh?Just thought I'd check in with the crowd, now and again, now that they be talking bout HOME RULE, elsewheres, and we all know nobody in Iowa wants any real progress, not here, not now, eh?Over and out. PAUL PETERSON
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on November 25, 2009 at 05:37:17 PT

US CO: Mountain Law: Home-rule vs. state power: An ongoing struggleWebpage: 25 Nov 2009Source: Summit Daily News (CO)Author: Noah Klug 
Mountain Law: Home-rule vs. state power: An ongoing struggle
Can a Colorado “municipality” (which includes any city or town) pass a local ordinance that contradicts a state law? The answer: It depends. With a few exceptions, Colorado recognizes two “classes” of municipality depending on how they were formed: “statutory” and “home-rule.” Statutory municipalities include: Blue River, Fairplay, Eagle and Leadville. Home-rule municipalities include: Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon and Vail. Some areas are not incorporated as separate municipalities at all — they have no power to pass local ordinances, and their affairs are largely controlled by the state and county governments. These unincorporated areas include: Montezuma, Keystone, Heeney, Eagle-Vail, Evergreen, Edwards and Beaver Creek. The powers that can be exercised by a municipality depend on the class to which it belongs. Statutory municipalities possess only those powers expressly granted to them by the state Legislature or that naturally flow from granted powers. A statutory municipality has no authority to pass an ordinance that contradicts state law. Home-rule municipalities have all the powers granted to statutory municipalities and, in addition, all the powers granted by Article XX of the Colorado Constitution. As a practical matter, this means home-rule municipalities have the same power over their own local affairs as the state government has over statewide affairs.So, in order to determine whether a given home-rule ordinance is enforceable, it must first be determined whether the subject of the ordinance is a matter of: (1) local concern; (2) statewide concern; or (3) mixed state and local concern. The courts make this determination on a case-by-case basis. Once a court decides into which category the subject of the ordinance fits, it then applies the following rules:CONT.
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