Los Angeles Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

L.A. City Council Members Say Collectives Can Sell Marijuana

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Yesterday two Los Angeles City Council committees rejected City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's position that state law does not allow patient collectives to sell medical marijuana. The Los Angeles Times reports that the council's planning and public safety committees approved an ordinance that "authorizes cash contributions as long as they comply with state law, which prohibits collectives from making a profit." That is consistent with the ordinances of jurisdictions such as West Hollywood and with guidelines issued last year by California Attorney General Jerry Brown. By contrast, Trutanich and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley maintain that patients organized as collectives are allowed to grow marijuana for their own medical use but may not sell it, an interpretation of the law that would put all dispensaries out of business. In a column last month, I speculated about how this disagreement might interact with the Obama administration's policy of leaving patients and providers alone if they comply with state law.

Update: As Gene Berkman notes in the comments, Cooley today declared that he is determined to prosecute medical marijuana sellers no matter what ordinance the L.A. City Council passes. "What the City Council is doing is beyond meaningless and irrelevant," he said. Councilman Ed Reyes replied: "We'll let the courts decide. We are trying our very best to work with a system that is very vague at this moment."

[Thanks to Cato's Jonathan Blanks for the tip.]

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  1. Not laissez faire yet, but a good sign from the Council.

    However, the LA Times today reports that the District Attorney is determined to prosecute dispensaries, regardless of what the Council does.

    1. Drug warriors consider that whole will of the people thingee an outmoded concept.

      They show their true authoritarian stripes whit that behavior.

      1. Preemptory STFU Lonewacko!

      2. This is a bad take JsD. Libertarians like you and me consider the will of the people outmoded or irrelevant or whatever all the time. Federal law says MJ is a Schedule I drug. There’s a good argument that this represents the will of the people. Yet I feel no obligation to honor immoral laws.

  2. Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Duude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude! Dude!

    Let’s get high! Let’s get high! Let’s get high! Let’s get high! Let’s get high!

    Oh, and also, this was a victory for our righteous crusade against the statist hegemony. Yes, that’s it.

    1. Your mother says to tell you hello.

      1. I am such a horrible dummy. I apologize for bothering you all with my riduculoz posts. also, 00=====D, I find it hard to believe that my mother is there when I am currently passionately embraced with her.

  3. So the DEA and the District Attorney disagree, huh? Hmm. I think I’ll bet on the guys with guns. They may lose in court, but that won’t help your dog any.

  4. LA homicide is down 40% over the last few years. I have a suspicion that the de-facto decriminalization of marijuana may have played a role in that.

    1. That’s just from Vic Mackey being off the streets now.

  5. Anyone who wants to get as pissed off as they are after reading a Balko column. click this link about Peter McWilliams and what can happen when medical marijuana is illegal.

    As for LoneDickwad aka 24ahead, is it out of line to hope he gets pancreatic cancer to learn this lesson firsthand?

  6. I’m going to kick Trutanich and Cooley in the balls. For real.

  7. The med MJ advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is planning an action at the conference of the The California Narcotic Officers Association (CNOA), this Saturday in San Francisco. According to the ASA flyer:

    “Last month CNOA hosted an event titled ‘The Eradication of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County’ in Montebello, California. Both the LA City Attorney & District Attorney spoke at the luncheon about how to shut down medical cannabis dispensaries in the LA area. One of the objectives of the CNOA is to ‘To educate the membership and the public on the dangers of narcotic and drug abuse’ although their materials regarding marijuana remain conflicting. Their fact sheet on marijuana begins with the history of the herb, and acknowledges the medical use of marijuana and its derivatives in multiple countries for thousands of years. On their fact sheet about medical cannabis, they declare ‘Marijuana is NOT a Medicine’. Despite the fact that they are a state association of state officers sworn to uphold California Law, they are not respecting medical cannabis patients, the Attorney General’s guidelines, or the voters who passed Proposition 215 amending the California Constitution!”

    I have to work, or I would be there, dammit.

    When: Registration for the conference begins Saturday November 21st. We will be in front of the Hilton bright and early at 7:30am so that we can prep for registration that begins at 8 am and runs through 1 pm.

    Where: Meet us outside the Hilton Union Square 333 O’Farrell St in San Francisco.

    Wear: Nice clothes (business attire) and a professional attitude, we’ll provide the name tags.

  8. ‘Despite the fact that they are a state association of state officers sworn to uphold California Law, they are not respecting . . . the voters who passed Proposition 215 amending the California Constitution!’

    Public officials in California seem to have a problem respecting voter-approved laws, don’t they?

    1. California has a long [proud] history of paramilitary-style cops.

    2. I know this has something to do with abortion, but I can’t put my finger on it.

  9. This is the same City Council that just unanimously passed a ban on declawing cats.

    Make of that what you will.

  10. How does Cooley keep getting elected, by the way?

  11. Activist DA!

  12. DA are irrelevant idiot scum, just ignore them

  13. Cooley keeps getting elected for his ‘other stances’ with regard to the law. It is sad that he thinks he was voted in BECAUSE of this one particular anti-cannabis stance. People vote for the lesser of two evils and Cooley was the lesser, but still evil.

  14. As a legal cannabis patient, collective member and Executive Director for the Beverly Hills NORML Chapter, I’m curious to know exactly which collectives will be targeted for a shut down.

    Cheryl Shuman
    Executive Director
    Beverly Hills
    NORML90210.org

  15. elected for his ‘other stances’ with regard to the law. It is sad that he thinks he was voted in BECAUSE of this one particular anti-cannabis stance. People vote for the lesser of two evils and Cooley was the lesser, but still evil.

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