~ Marijuana News, Rootz and Culture from the Heart of the Emerald Triangle ~
Chaotic and Contradictory Marijuana Laws for Medical Marijuana Patients
The local, state and federal laws regulating medical marijuana in California grew even hazier with the Obama administration’s recent memo that threatened to prosecute anyone in the business of growing or supplying pot to patients.
The memo represented a significant departure from its sensible October 2009 guidelines that essentially assured dispensaries and patients that the federal government was not interested in going after operations that complied with state law.
Now the clinics are put in the untenable position of wondering whether the next knock on the door might be from federal agents.
The state of the law could not be more chaotic and contradictory. Marijuana remains classified as an illegal drug under federal law, period. California voters sanctioned the use of marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, but the state has all but looked the other way about where and how those dispensaries have been obtaining bulk quantities of the drug. The voter-approved initiative offered little guidance – other than expressly allowing cultivation for personal use – and elected leaders in Sacramento have largely avoided the supply question.
Some cities, notably Oakland, have tried to fill the void by legalizing large-scale indoor growing operations – but backed off when the U.S. attorney warned that it would be in violation of state and federal law.
Meanwhile, dispensaries have proliferated in many cities, classified ads for friendly doctors are abundant, and patient ID cards are not much more difficult to obtain than a box of Sudafed. Personal possession of less than an ounce of marijuana without a doctor’s recommendation has been reduced to an infraction, with a $100 fine.
California voters wisely rejected Prop. 19 last year, which would have legalized marijuana without sufficient controls and restraints. It would have made no sense to replace one form of chaos with another – and almost certainly would have attracted an aggressive federal response.
The feds are raising fair questions about whether a see-no-evil approach to the growing and supply chain has allowed cartels and other crime operations to exploit the lax oversight.
Perhaps the feds might be more willing to defer to state laws if they were more structured and realistic. But that would require a level of leadership that has been missing on this issue at the state level over the past 15 years.
"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." Albert Einstein, "My First Impression of the USA," 1921
Ngaio Bealum joins us to discuss the effects of the West Coast medical marijuana crackdown, promoting May 20 Portland Mt. Tabor Theater show; Dave Bienenstock from HIGH TIMES with a preview of the newsstand issue and San Francisco's Medical Cannabis Cup; music by The Effinays
Live report from attorneys Lance Rogers and Michael Cindrich at the San Diego NORML protest of DEA abuse of Daniel Chong; highlights from the DFW NORML Cinco de Mota march; Rant: Debunking No on I-502 Misinformation, Again.
SF Weekly, 03 Sep 2015 - Governor Jerry Brown has spoken: It is time to get a grip on California's unregulated medical cannabis industry. But even with JB's blessing, nothing is guaranteed. It's nearing the 11th hour in Sacramento, where lawmakers and lobbyists are hammering out the final details of the first statewide regulations for Californ […]
North Coast Journal, 03 Sep 2015 - School's back in session and a new study reports that more college students are smoking pot frequently. Six percent of students told University of Michigan researchers that they smoked weed daily or nearly daily in 2014, according to a Reuters article, nearly double the number in 2007. (Quick math: If 6 percent of 20 m […]
East Bay Express, 02 Sep 2015 - The city's long strange trip toward its first medical cannabis dispensary may be finally reaching its climax. For years, San Leandro's city leaders wanted absolutely no part of the medical cannabis industry.
The Orange County Register, 01 Sep 2015 - Re: "Find other ways to reform asset forfeiture" [Letters, Aug. 28]: Fountain Valley Police Chief Daniel Llorens justifies the taking of someone's property based merely on a suspicion and without due process. This sets a dangerous precedent in the abuse of law and property rights. He contends that Sena […]
Appeal-Democrat, 01 Sep 2015 - I clearly remember the day Gary Simpson spoke out against the criminal marijuana industry at a Yuba County Board of Supervisor's meeting. It was the day after his cousin was murdered by marijuana thieves. Now the criminal marijuana industry is trying to make an issue of his letter to Linda residents stating his feelings ab […]
Appeal-Democrat, 01 Sep 2015 - The medical marijuana ordinance in Sutter County will continue unchanged, despite several recommended modifications by an advisory committee. A presentation to the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday was information-only, so no action was taken, and the board gave little indication that any of the recommended changes would be imp […]
Sacramento Bee, 01 Sep 2015 - Re "State wants pot farms to become water-wise" (Page 1A, Aug. 30): It's encouraging that elected officials and regulatory agencies are finally seriously addressing legal cannabis cultivation's environmental impacts and trying to bring cultivators into compliance with existing law regarding water use. However […]
San Diego Union Tribune, 31 Aug 2015 - Regarding "Proposed law makes it easier to retain criminal assets" (Aug. 21): Seizure of assets of citizens who have not been convicted of a crime is no way to fund public safety. If, as Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano's commentary claims, criminal forfeiture is an effective tool to disable " […]
Porterville Recorder, 31 Aug 2015 - It's been nearly a year since the marijuana ordinance went into effect for the city of Porterville and Tuesday the council members will review to see if the ordinance has been effective. Some of the topics to be reviewed and considered for possible change include drought concerns and the amount of water the plants use […]