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


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.]