L.A.'s Medical Marijuana Roller-Coaster Ride
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L.A.'s Medical Marijuana Roller-Coaster Ride
Posted by CN Staff on January 03, 2012 at 18:50:54 PT
Source: Los Angeles Times 
Los Angeles -- City Councilman Jose Huizar is asking his colleagues to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. It's a great idea. Or rather, it would have been a great idea three or four years ago — before the city purported to regulate the storefront cannabis-selling shops. The idea would not be to ban dispensaries forever but to track court rulings, determine what regulations are and are not allowable, and then construct a smart and enforceable ordinance.
But it's too late for that now. L.A. city government took its seat on a legal roller coaster when it first signaled that it couldn't or wouldn't block dispensaries from opening, then stayed for a second ride when it adopted and tried to enforce ordinances regulating where and when purveyors could operate. There's no getting off now. This city is in the front car for the duration.At issue is whether Los Angeles has the power to regulate dispensaries. There are two basic and inescapable facts: Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which means Congress in its wisdom has determined that the plant has no accepted medical use and is a dangerous drug that must be suppressed; and Californians, in their wisdom, determined in 1996 by adopting Proposition 215 that it does indeed have medical value and that patients should be able to acquire it and use it without fear of punishment.Courts have ruled that because the state decriminalization laws don't actually attempt to authorize possession or use — they only bar state punishment — they don't conflict with federal drug laws.Long Beach and Los Angeles adopted similar dispensary ordinances, charging applicants a fee and issuing permits. But in October, an appeals court threw out the Long Beach ordinance. By saying when and where dispensaries could operate, the justices said, the city was affirmatively allowing something that, under federal law, it could not allow. That goes beyond the scope of Proposition 215, which merely eliminates state penalties for using medical marijuana.Studying the Long Beach experience, and noting the proliferation of hundreds of pirate dispensaries in Los Angeles as well as those the city claims to have authorized, Huizar wants to go back to square one and wait for higher courts to rule, the state attorney general to opine and/or Sacramento lawmakers to re-craft state law. But the city lacks the resources to close every dispensary; even if it could, doing so would take so long it would hardly be worth it; and another state court has issued contrary rulings. It would be unjust to treat dispensaries that followed city laws the same as pirate operations.Los Angeles has opted to secure access to medical marijuana for legitimate patients who need it. It's too late to pretend it never got on the roller coaster. It must take its ups and downs through the courts, and stay on board until the ride is over. Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Published: January 4, 2012Copyright: 2012 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on January 07, 2012 at 06:49:13 PT
Howard says he will be going back on Jan 16
some stats from his last newsletter.I will be spending two months in Colorado in the fall to push their legalize/regulate/tax marijuana ballot initiative. Naturally Misty is part of that plan. Stats for COP’s third year, started on August 1, 2011:232 presentations to Congressional staffers:  0 this week6 Letter to the Editor: 01 this week2 Television appearances (Univision):  this week5 Other media (blogs, cable TV, etc): this week7 radio shows:   this week11 (Member of Congress) contacts:  this weekPermanent invitation to Grover Norquist’s Wednesday brunch attended by 140 conservative VIPs.2 Major conferences attended: Drug Policy Alliance International & the Congressional Black Caucus
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 07, 2012 at 05:24:37 PT
I just saw your post about Howard. I wish him a speedy recovery.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 06, 2012 at 22:23:14 PT
ekim Comment 2
Thank you for letting us know. I'm so glad he's doing well. Howard works so hard to make a bold statement against the injustice that the war on cannabis and the people of this country is.Please keep us informed of how he's doing.
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Comment #3 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 06, 2012 at 07:21:53 PT:
The Sweet Smell of Judicial Estoppel…
… wafting through the back rooms of federal judges in California is getting sour. Election-year judges chambers are supposed to smell as sweet as the predetermined election returns to come. "Estoppel", or entrapment cases are potential landmines for judges because they are essentially second guessing legislators who aren't doing the job of representing the legal constituency that elected them.Instead, the High Hats are too busy representing a constituency "from above", one that demands dictatorial power to deal with "terrorists", even if it has to create terrorists out of citizens (via "the drug war") to show the massed herds what happens when authority is challenged.As more and more cities and states realize how deep this tar pit gets, it will eventually fall to the judiciary for a decision.
My own guess is that sometime in the next few months, some judge will call it Entrapment and says it stinketh.
What happens after that is anybody's guess. Another "Saturday Night Massacre" perhaps? (When Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and Atty. Gen. Elliot Richardson)Can you just picture Barack Obama firing Eric Holder?Can you picture the American public firing Barack Obama? That I can picture.We never did find out who the Fed gave all that money to, by the way, but the buck stops at the top.
Harry Truman showed us that much.At some point the the individual States will be on their own in the marijuana issue.The sooner the better.Then the issue can get back to price and quality, where it belongs. Legal like alcohol! It's not rocket science!
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on January 04, 2012 at 07:51:02 PT
got word this morning that Howard has had a stroke
if you know Howard you know how hard he works in D.C.Happy to report that he seems to be doing well and will 
be resting for a while.Please keep Howard in your thoughts for a Happy New Year
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on January 03, 2012 at 21:44:24 PT
Pain Patients Lose a Leading Advocate
Pain Patients Lose a Leading Advocate, Siobhan Reynolds, 1961-2011by David Borden, December 26, 2011, 02:19pmMy friend and colleague Siobhan Reynolds, founder of the Pain Relief Network (PRN), died in a plane crash this weekend (Christmas Eve) outside Columbus, Ohio. The pilot of the plane, her partner Kp Byers, was also a pain activist, an attorney whose practice had focused since 1992 on defending medical professionals caught in the crosshairs of the drug war. Radley Balko has written an extensive tribute to Siobhan, online here. So does Jacob Sullum at Reason.
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