The LA Times has weighed in with their opinion on California Legalization of marijuana and it's that California should wait and learn!
"One reason to wait is that California didn't do such a good job when it led the nation on medical marijuana. Look at the confusion that continues to surround the medical marijuana industry in the state. Dispensaries are legal in some cities, not in others. Cities pass ordinances regulating them, courts overturn the rules. Eighteen years after voters passed the California Compassionate Use Act, and a decade after the Legislature authorized dispensaries, the regulatory environment is still hazy."
The LA Times is such a contradiction. A reason to wait is because we didn't do a good job leading the nation with medical marijuana??? Isn't that a reason to legalize it and regulate it and show the nation that California can do things right? Let's fix it through new and better laws.
The attitude that it's practically legal anyway is ridiculous. Should we live in a legal grey zone where law enforcement gets to decide who they are going to single out and arrest/harass? The data isn't out for 2013 yet but in 2012 over 21,000 Californians were arrested for marijuana possession.
Read the entire LA Times article here.
One of the questions they have is "What is the rush?" Um, hey LA Times, have you heard about the Green Rush? The stores that started selling legal weed in Colorado are having a hard time supplying the demand. Prices have gone up and store owners are scrambling to build mega warehouse grows. Is California so flush with cash that we can ignore the fastest growing
The Times asked a lot of questions. Let's answer them for them!
After hearing patient testimony and legal counsel by activists, Fresno county BOS made a bold move and banned indoor cultivation of medical marijuana yesterday January 7, 2014. What makes this so bold is that they have already banned outdoor cultivation and dispensaries leaving sick people with no safe and affordable access to their medicine of choice.
In 1996 California voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 215 which was further reinforced by SB420. SB420 or the MMP provides that individual patients may maintain six mature or twelve immature plants for their personal medical needs. In addition, the MMP expressly authorizes localities to enact guidelines that are higher – but not lower – than the state’s six plant limit.
One argument the BOS heard was by Sherrif Mims (who was not personally there) who estimates that enforcement costs the county $300K+ a year. So the solution they are offering is that anyone growing more than two plants will face fines of $1000 per plant and then $100 per plant per day that aren't immediately destroyed. Allowing two plants is off the record. On the record is zero tolerance. What's not being factored in is the cost of litigation which could potentially be much higher.
Joe Elford, the Chief Council for Americans for Safe Access, has filed a petition to Review with the California State Supreme Court regarding another citiy's ban. The petition argues that local governments are pre-empted by state law from banning cultivation by qualified medical marijuana patients, insofar as California’s Compassionate Use Act (Prop 215) and the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMP, aka SB 420) explicitly authorize such cultivation.
The ban that the Fresno County BOS voted on yesterday is unconstitutional. And it's not timely or popular. There is a more rational approach to the problems Fresno county is facing with medical marijuana.
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Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.