Judge Issues Injunction Against L.A.'s MMJ Law
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Judge Issues Injunction Against L.A.'s MMJ Law
Posted by CN Staff on December 11, 2010 at 08:25:15 PT
By John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times
Source: Los Angeles Times 
California -- A judge handed Los Angeles a setback in its faltering drive to limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries, granting a preliminary injunction on Friday that bars the city from enforcing key provisions in its controversial six-month-old ordinance.The decision, issued by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, leaves the city with limited power to control pot stores, which opened by the hundreds, angering neighborhood activists when city officials failed to enforce a 2007 moratorium.
Near the end of his 40-page ruling, Mohr acknowledged "there is a good chance that a large number of collectives could open once this injunction takes effect," but said his order was warranted because the dispensaries that sued the city are highly likely to prevail in a trial.The City Council first discussed regulating dispensaries 5 1/2 years ago. At the time, the Los Angeles Police Department could find just four of them. It was five years before the city's ordinance, one of the most complex and convoluted in the state, took effect.More than 100 dispensaries have filed at least 42 lawsuits challenging the ordinance. "We're singing 'Happy Days Are Here Again,'" said Stewart Richlin, an attorney who represents nine dispensaries, while David Welch, an attorney who represents more than five dozen, described his clients as "ecstatic." He said Mohr's decision would curtail city enforcement efforts. "It means they can't use strong-arm tactics, such as arresting my clients," Welch said.But Jane Usher, a special assistant city attorney, said, "I suspect that their exuberance will be short-lived." She noted that Mohr, in ruling against some provisions, also suggested ways to fix the ordinance. "He left 90% of it intact and gave us methods for quickly correcting the remaining provisions. I think we'll be gracious and accept," she said.Councilman Ed Reyes, who led the City Council's drive to draft the ordinance, said he hoped to have a proposal to address the judge's ruling by Monday. "My sense of urgency is that great," he said. "I've already learned from the past that, if you open up the window a little, people just crash through. We have to close that window as quick as possible."Mohr enjoined a crucial provision of the ordinance that outlawed all dispensaries in Los Angeles except those that registered with the city under the moratorium the council placed on new stores. He ruled that the provision is unconstitutional because the ban was not properly extended and expired almost two months before the Nov. 13, 2007, registration deadline for dispensaries."The justification for using that date as a bright line was compromised, if not confounded, by the fact that it was unnecessary to register," he wrote.His decision throws into disarray the city's ongoing process for identifying which dispensaries are qualified to stay open. The council has already delayed by six months enforcement of the ordinance's restrictions, such as requiring dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from schools.The judge, however, offered the council a quick remedy. He said the council could simply allow all dispensaries that existed before a certain date and ban the others. He noted that the documents that dispensaries filed with the city in 2007 when they registered could be used as proof they were operating at the time. "Amending the ordinance accordingly would most likely be the easiest way to avoid another equal protection challenge," he said.Usher said the city attorney's office would probably recommend the council do that.Michael Larsen, president of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, said, "I think what Judge Mohr has said is that the city attorney and City Council have written a flawed ordinance, and they need to go back to the drawing board very quickly to get it fixed."Mohr's decision came after the fast-multiplying lawsuits were routed to his courtroom. The judge delved deeply into the state's medical marijuana laws in a series of hearings that stretched out over more than half the year.Defending the ordinance has cost the city many hours of legal time. At some hearings, half a dozen city lawyers showed up. Usher said the city would probably appeal some of the ruling.The judge also decided the ordinance violated the due-process rights of the dispensaries because it shut them down without a hearing, and the privacy rights of patients because it required dispensaries to make records on members available to the police.The judge concluded state law preempts a provision that makes violations of the ordinance subject to criminal penalties under the municipal code and a provision that sunsets the ordinance after two years, which he said is "a blanket ban" on collectives and "goes too far."Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author:  John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times Published: December 11, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite:  Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by sandybeach on December 13, 2010 at 09:09:06 PT
solution to not going to jail-legalize cannabis
The owners of those private prisons need to turn them all into mini malls where vendors can come all week or on weekends to set up to sell their cash crops of sweet corn, and pumpkins.They need to use those cells for positive productive supportive solutions to not going to jail.  
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Comment #7 posted by rchandar on December 12, 2010 at 12:51:52 PT:
I suspect that the Netherlands will maintain their system, more or less the same as it already is. I don't know how many EU countries will sign on to "regulation of cannabis," because traditionally they've been only willing to decriminalize (meaning, legalize) possession and in some cases growing, but have been reluctant to allow any kind of selling/dealing. Switzerland has been leaning in the direction for some time, but the gears are very slow because they're afraid decrim will attract lots of people from the big countries (France, Germany, Italy). They still pride themselves on being a small, autonomous place that make their own rules.For the big countries, something really special would have to happen. As in, a confirmedly left government with a strong parliamentary majority. The success of conservatives in elections over the past 10 years is virtually clinched every time by the bloc status of the EU-which, in its constitution, professes a Christian common history. In the past 10 years, the EU has suffered a great deal of negative publicity for not respecting diversity. THAT IS WHY conservatives are winning elections--because they want to close their doors and abolish employment and medical freedoms part of a "freer" society.--rchandar
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Comment #6 posted by sandybeach on December 12, 2010 at 04:52:44 PT:
jobs, natural self sustainability are on the way
Imagine The money the state could save if it released just the prisoners who are guilty of non violent acts of smoking and minor possession and people who were caught growing cannabis or hemp.Now cap that thought with a new industry wow a natural new self sustaining industry that will save sick people money on health care because it actually cures disease in stead of just treating the symptoms.I tend to think of all the other industries that could be born of this product a company to make real canvas tarps or covers for yurts etc.How about food industries and hopefully fuel industries will open up.The possibilities are maybe endless.
I don't think i mentioned "not" cutting down the red woods to make paper did I,or the fabric that could be made from hemp fiber? Washington state, start designing and building your brand new line of processing equipment..Jobs and clean green natural sustainability are on the way. 
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on December 11, 2010 at 23:03:49 PT
Move Aside California: Washington Could Legalize Marijuana Next YearBy Charles Davis, - Wednesday, December 8 2010 policy reform activists, buoyed by polls showing a strong majority of voters in Washington support ending the government's crusade against cannabis, are aiming to legalize marijuana by presenting the issue to the public on the November 2011 ballot. But here's the strange thing: it's possible their politicians might beat them to it.Speaking to local media outlet The Stranger, state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D) says she plans on introducing legislation next year that "would legalize it, regulate it and tax it." And this isn't just some vanity bill, or one intended to just send a message, she says.“We have been wasting scores of millions of dollars on arresting and jailing people who have done nothing more than smoke marijuana recreationally. That has ended up harming people and costing taxpayers tremendously. So it’s a very high cost to individuals and to taxpayers—it’s a wrongheaded policy that simply needs to be changed."I am dead serious about this," Dickerson says.It's about time, too -- though whether it be protecting civil rights or ending the Vietnam war, politicians never seem to do anything good without serious public pressure first forcing them to act. And it's no different in Washington, where activists have been threatening to make the state legislature irrelevant by letting voters weigh in on the state's marijuana policy directly by way of a ballot initiative.One of the main groups leading the fight to reform the state's drug laws is Sensible Washington, led by attorneys and long-time legalization advocates Douglas Hiatt and Jeffrey Steinborn. While activists in California and Colorado are eying the 2012 ballot -- and the presumed higher youth turn-out of a presidential election -- to press ahead with legalization ballot initiatives, Hiatt and Steinborn maintain that next year is the time to act if the state legislature doesn't first.Cont.
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on December 11, 2010 at 22:55:14 PT
EU Ready To End Drug Prohibition European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD) - Friday, December 10 2010 The European Union will not block any initiative of EU Member States to start the legal regulation of cannabis and other currently illegal drugs. This was repeatedly stated by Dana Spinant, the new Coordinator of the European Commissions Anti-Drugs Unit, at a Public Hearing on Drug Policies in the European Parliament today.The hearing was organised by Member of European Parliament Michael Tremopoulos (Greens, Greece) and ENCOD, a coalition of citizens for drug policy reform. It brought together the expertise of representatives of civil society -among others leading Spanish activist for legal cannabis Martin Barriuso, spokesman of the Union of Dutch Coffeeshops Marc Josemans, and Richard Cowan, former director of NORML, USA’s largest reform organisation. Members of European Parliament Rui Tavares (GUE/NGL, Portugal) and Dennis de Jong (GUE/NGL, Netherlands) also spoke at the event.The hearing considered the financial implications of decriminalisation of drugs and regulation of cannabis for public expenditure. Based on an extrapolation on data provided by the EMCDDA the total amount that could be generated by a combination of measures could be estimated between 35 and 60 billion euro/year, or between 70 and 120 euro/year for each of the 500 million people who reside in the European Union.In March 2009, the European Commission published the results of a research report ("Report on Global Illicit Drug Markets 1998 – 2007", edited by Peter Reuter and Franz Trautmann) which conclude that prohibitionist policies are failing in their main objective, which is to reduce the demand and supply of illicit drugs. The report even stated that these policies might be a crucial factor in generating and increasing harm to individual drug consumers, their direct surroundings and society at large."Drug prohibition is a blessing for organised crime", said Dennis de Jong, Dutch Member of the European Parliament for the Socialistische Partij (SP). "My own government unfortunately is now moving towards more repression on the coffeeshops. In stead of the more reasonable approach towards regulation, the authorities now want to ban foreign visitors by installing membership cards, which will only increase the illegal market".Cont.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on December 11, 2010 at 19:31:43 PT
taking care of bidness
sandy you're absolutely right. The CNBC special said that Colorado now has over 1,000 dispensaries, each with new owners and multiple employees.There's also a secondary industry of growers, chefs, security camera installers, interior decorators, accountants, lawyers, and on and on. It's called capitalism.What's happening in LA boggles the mind. In the midst of near total financial meltdown - the odds are quite high of CA going bankrupt - the govt. is straining itself to crush a new industry.It seems like madness. But it's not. It's the criminal justice industry of cops, lawyers, prison guards, etc, that have taken control of California government. They want all the money, they don't care if there's no tax money left or not. Look at the prisons - even after the Supreme Court ORDERED CA to release 40,000 prisoners due to inhumane conditions, Ahnold and the state govt. refused, and the case went BACK to the Supreme Court. Rather than releasing the low-level "criminals", the CA govt. argued that the fed has no right to tell them to release the people. Imagine this going on at the very same time the state is going bankrupt!!!
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Comment #2 posted by sandybeach on December 11, 2010 at 17:05:53 PT:
" the gold rush"
Here we are, in the mist of a gold rush,everybody wants a piece of the pie,Opportunity has been slim until now.People are hungry,we need work to pay rent and buy food and make car payments.Then low and behold,we can farm.and sell our crops on the local market.We are living proof that we can sustain ourselves raising little cash crops of cannabis or even sweet corn to strengthen the hungry,or weak who suffer.
Some of us have gone from poverty to the status of purposeful self employment.Hundreds of people have gone from unemployed to employed in such a short time.This is remarkably positive to spite all the excitement. 
I would have to view this effort as one of the many perfect examples of how hemp and cannabis will make us a naturally sustainable community.I say build these one hundred cannabis retail shops a mall of their own and charge 50 cents (for those who oppose them) to just get inside to look at it.We have jobs here folks.I don't know if any one was paying attention here but jobs are sort of scarce lately..Jobs are an important part of at home sustainability.Perhaps what is just as important is that sick people are getting better.
Try to show a little compassion here on both sides of this issue.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on December 11, 2010 at 10:19:29 PT
Ain't this a Howl?
"We have to close that window as quick as possible."Close the window is a funny metaphor to use while he is standing before a wide open barn door!You will never return a genie to his bottle. It will be the saga of the Keystone Cops all over again just watching these ego-mini-acts tear through their legal and political machinations. I hope they never admit defeat. I see them and their cause as being less successful than the land encroachers at the Alamo but a lot more bloody. 
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