Medical Marijuana

Can't Let Retailers Make Money Off Sick People

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California Attorney General Jerry Brown, taking a cue from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (who has resisted medical clinics in drugstores because "allowing retailers to make money off of sick people is wrong"), has decreed that all medical marijuana dispensaries in the state must henceforth operate on a nonprofit basis. Brown hopes his guidelines, which were welcomed by some California activists, will encourage the Drug Enforcement Administration to "back off." But the Marijuana Policy Project's Bruce Mirken observes, "The last I heard, Walgreens isn't a charity." Tell it to Menino.

The Los Angeles Times reports that medical marijuana prices will be "limited to covering overhead and operating expenses." Since operating expenses presumably include paying managers and other employees, that seems to leave some wiggle room.

A few weeks ago I criticized the federal prosecution of Charlie Lynch, a Morro Bay dispensary operator who did well by doing good. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Wait. I guess there is.

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  1. meucal marijuana

    “Medical” perhaps?

  2. And how do they plan to determine individual stores’ overhead rates? Audits for everyone!

  3. Brown hopes his guidelines, which were welcomed by some California activists, will encourage the Drug Enforcement Administration to “back off.”

    What a moron. The DEA isn’t busting dispensaries because they distribute net revenues to their owners, they’re busting dispensaries because they sell marijuana.

  4. But the Marijuana Policy Project’s Bruce Mirken observes, “The last I heard, Walgreens isn’t a charity.”

    Walgreens isn’t regularly raided by feds who think they’re running a racket, either.

    Isn’t this a rather obvious and relevant point? One which just might put forward a more plausible explanation of Brown’s intent?

    Nah. He’s teh socialist!

  5. California Attorney General Jerry Brown, … has decreed that all medical marijuana dispensaries in the state must henceforth operate on a nonprofit basis.

    WTF? Where does the AG get the authority to decree such a thing! There should be forced castration for any government official that exceeds the power of their office.

  6. OK you granola staters, why the fuck would you elect Jerry Moonbeam Brown to any goddam position?

    Are your fellow citizens stupid?
    Insane?
    Masochists?
    All of the above?

  7. WTF? Where does the AG get the authority to decree such a thing!

    It depends almost entirely on how stupidly the relevant law(s) were written.

  8. Walgreens isn’t regularly raided by feds who think they’re running a racket, either.

    this is true, but i think they’re playing a fool’s game, here.

    it is, however, a good pr move.

  9. Being non-profit won’t make medical MJ any more palatable to the feds. WTF is Moonbeam thinking?

  10. Damn sick people and their addiction to buying life saving drugs!!! There oughtta be a law . . .

  11. Wait a minute – Jerry Brown is our AG?

  12. Joe – What difference does it make that federal agents are raiding the dispensaries? Are they really going to stop raiding the dispensaries if they aren’t turning profits? Maybe, but it doesn’t seem like that is their true motivation for raiding the medical dispensaries.

  13. This set of rules is not bad. Since the A.G. never put out a definitive set of rules so that there could be some type of baseline operation for cooperatives and collectives, there has been a number of problems. First problem being that the cooperatives didn’t know what rules they were supposed to be following, so many of them just bought their product from anybody. Second problem being that “concerned citizens,” ignorant to how the cooperatives were supposed to work, have been submitting proposals for their own sets of rules to local governments. Since there were no statewide rules to address this, rules that make no sense have been appearing on these local petitions.

    A.G. and soon to be Gov. Moonbeam did a great job here.

  14. What is profit? It’s savings. Non-profits spend it all recklessly while for-profits save and spend on capital. To be a non-profit, just make sure you monitor income closely and any thing above current costs, give to the employees! Unless there’s a law against that (probably is).

    Why does not saving money make a company virtuous?

    Social liberals like to pretend to be intensely intellectual, but really they’re probably the dumbest political category of all. The non-profit obsession is a good example.

  15. Social liberals like to pretend to be intensely intellectual, but really they’re probably the dumbest political category of all.

    Nice leap from *a liberal* to the hairy, spindly unknown, jackass.

  16. Damn hippies hiding behind sick people and their addiction to buying life saving drugs being high and stuff!!! There oughtta be Sure glad there’s a law . . .

  17. Being non-profit won’t make medical MJ any more palatable to the feds. WTF is Moonbeam thinking?

    It keeps the state in the loop. It’s the political equivalent of California giving a head-nod to the feds and saying “it’s aight, I got this!”

  18. Since operating expenses presumably include paying managers and other employees, that seems to leave some wiggle room.

    And that is, in a nutshell, why the concept of “non-profit” is a myth. Even if there is no profit on paper, someone is always making money.

  19. Isn’t this the theory behind why prostitution is “wrong” in the eyes of some? Sex is OK. Making money is OK. But don’t you DARE combine the two!!! That makes it EVIL!!!!

    Note: I think prostitution should also be legal.

  20. When you hear the name of Jerry Brown, what do you first think?

    Meglomaniacal Ego.

  21. “When you hear the name of Jerry Brown, what do you first think?”

    Linda Ronstadt

  22. I am tempted to say that the next time people angrily claim that Democrats aren’t socialists, we should bring up Jerry Brown. But even as cynical as I can be, I would feel bad about using an obvious nutcase like Brown as a stick to beat anyone with.

  23. JD, how about using Obama? They did nominate him as POTUS after all.

  24. Even if there is no profit on paper, someone is always making money.

    Non-profit never was meant to imply not profitable.

    Non-profits have to make money, if they don’t they cease to exist, just like any business. It’s what they do with those profits that distinguishes them from for-profit firms.

  25. I like Jerry Brown, my first vote ever was for him. He’s a great speaker and ten times more principled than that lout Bill Clinton whom he gave a run for his money in 92 until Bill’s dirty tricks team laid into him.

    The link provided to the LA Times story shows what a pile of crap the LA Times is. No link at all to the actual guidelines the AG released. But I found them here:

    http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/press/pdfs/n1601_medicalmarijuanaguidelines.pdf

    The reasoning seems to be that the law granting medical marijuana stated that a qualified patient could have a certain amount of herb on them and that as to cultivation:

    “11362.775. Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients and persons with identification cards, who associate within the State of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions under Section 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11366, 11366.5, or 11570.”

    It seems that a reasonable way to read the guidelines is that Brown was trying to make sure the law fell under the State laws such that the feds would leave them alone.

  26. Here’s the heart of the argument in the guidelines, it sure strikes me as an attempt to take this stuff out of the province of federal laws as much as possible:

    “The incongruity between federal and state law has given rise to understandable confusion, but no legal conflict exists merely because state law and federal law treat marijuana differently. Indeed, California’s medical marijuana laws have been challenged
    unsuccessfully in court on the ground that they are preempted by the CSA. (County of San
    Diego v. San Diego NORML (July 31, 2008) — Cal.Rptr.3d —, 2008 WL 2930117.)
    Congress has provided that states are free to regulate in the area of controlled substances,
    including marijuana, provided that state law does not positively conflict with the CSA. (21
    U.S.C. ? 903.) Neither Proposition 215, nor the MMP, conflict with the CSA because, in
    adopting these laws, California did not “legalize” medical marijuana, but instead exercised the state’s reserved powers to not punish certain marijuana offenses under state law when a physician has recommended its use to treat a serious medical condition. (See City of
    Garden Grove v. Superior Court (Kha) (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 355, 371-373, 381-382.)

    In light of California’s decision to remove the use and cultivation of physicianrecommended
    marijuana from the scope of the state’s drug laws, this Office recommends that state and local law enforcement officers not arrest individuals or seize marijuana under federal law when the officer determines from the facts available that the cultivation, possession, or transportation is permitted under California’s medical marijuana laws.”

  27. Yet more proof that Democrats are every bit the drug warrior that Republicans are. Those of you who still think Democrats are somehow progressive on social issues are delusional.

    Dems may be in favor of gay marriage, but ONLY because it’s hip and trendy. And in favor of legal drugs only with a prescription and no cash. Democrats are still solidly opposed to non-medical marijuana, non-marijuana narcotics of any kind, salvia, prostitution, group marriages, riding bikes without helmets, speech that might offend, and running with scissors. Hell, Democrats even talk like they want to criminalize legal for-profit pharmaceuticals.

    Yeah, they smoke pot themselves. So what? Their motto is “free for me, not for thee.” They see nothing at all wrong with banning activities that they themselves participate in.

  28. MNG-

    You may be right about his intentions. I certainly agree with him on some issues, emphasis on some. However, would you please acknowledge that, to spin this in the spirit of what the russians call bratski druzhbi, Mr. Brown has a healthy ego?

    I remember my best buddy’s older sister(who now is one fine, hot MILF) dragging me along to go hear Jerry make a campaign speech in Newport Rhode Island in late May of the year of his first presidential run. Hey, I was impressed-but I was a callow lad of one score minus seven.

  29. Yahoo Answerer: while I suppose there are at least some people who think it’s the mixing of two fine activities, sex and making money, that’s what’s wrong with prositution, I daresay the majority of people who want prostitution to remain illegal think there’s something at least a little dodgy about both. Tyler Cowan has some good stuff on this: that for most folk money changing hands tends to, well, cheapen things. Since sex is a fairly nasty business, think they, especially for women, and certainly with no affection or commitment to redeem it, well, sex for money is just about as degrading an activity as someone could possibly be forced into, and definitely nothing no one would choose rationally over, say, working at McDonald’s or soemthing enobling like that.

  30. Brandybuck-Have you read the guidelines? It would behoove you to know what you’re talking in so opinionated a way about…

    libertymike-I don’t know, he doesn’t seem to have any more ego than any other politician. I used to find his story about how he wanted to be a Jesuit compelling.

  31. skippy, for the record, I think of ms. ronstadt no matter who’s name is mentioned.

    My “fantasy to end all fantasies” involves her and ms. emmylou harris. Been carryin a torch for them sirens for near 35 years.

  32. When I hear the name Jerry Brown, I always immediately hear California Uber Alles.
    Just sayin.

  33. Robbie, Episiarch,

    I’m thinking this is a back-door way to allow defendants to introduce the fact that they are running dispensary for sick people into the trials, information which has so far not been allowed.

    It becomes a lot tougher for the prosecutors to cast someone as a drug trafficker when they’re running a non-profit business.

    BTW, the know-nothing knee-jerking over the term “non-profit” on this thread is absolutely freaking hilarious. ZOMG! teh socialists! I don’t know anything about the subject, but DEMOCRATS HATE MONEY!!

  34. How would the MTM work for those patients?

    “no, man, two tokes and hold for three”

    “are you even inhaling man?”

  35. One of the rare times I agree with MNG. Brown was clearly a better candidate than Clinton in 1992. Of course, Clinton was the worst of the 7 dwarfs, so that isnt necessarily saying much. I thought Brown was in the top 2 or 3 anyway – Tsongas was clearly the best (for no other reason than that he was the least anti-nuke power).

  36. MNG,

    The guidelines, at least the parts you show, make no mention of profit/non-profit so I see no reason for CA to make that distinction. The last paragraph of your 7:49 post holds up whether the dispensary is profit or non-profit.

  37. what is this socialist nonsense

  38. joe,

    the primary motivation for this is purely to provide dispensary operators with a defense against accusations that they are effectively drug dealers? that may be the case, but it would also kill the livelihood of the people who are trying to make this work!

    i guess it is lamentable that a stupid tactic like that has to even be considered, and might even be effective, just to prevent harsh punishment for doing something that not only shouldn’t be a crime, but actually actively helps sick people. it’s ass-backwards.

  39. Non-profit? Sounds like “universal” health care to me.

    For-profit operations and franchised businesses will always provide better quality and lower priced services than government mandated market controls. It is simply impossible to sit a group of bureaucrats in a room and have them decide anything rational as far as business goes. Any regulation is too much regulation. The only government regulation that I support is the requirement of accurate product labeling. I would only want this done by third party for-profit analysis companies and not some potentially corrupt taxpayer-funded monstrosity.

    I saw a public television program concerning franchised African drug stores with the parent company maintaining strict oversight concerning the acquisition of drugs. The cost per patient in this particular example was quoted at $1/visit. Over the years Africa has received hundreds of billions in foreign aid intended for medical treatment… where did all this money go?

    Franchise the Cannabis collectives. Just think of all the good names for parent companies: Cannabee’s, Indo King, Dunkin Dosia, International House of Spacecakes, H&R Pot, Marijuana etc…

    I suppose it won’t happen. Some people are too jealous of anyone who takes a risk and makes money as a result.

  40. Brandybuck-Have you read the guidelines? It would behoove you to know what you’re talking in so opinionated a way about…

    You’re right. Having never been a Democrat, I have absolutely no clue as to how they think. All I can go by is how they act. And from I observe of their actions, they are every bit as determined to keep drugs illegal as the Republicans.

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