~ 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.
San Francisco Chronicle, 01 Mar 2015 - "State Republican advocates for Oakland pot dispenser" (Insight, Feb. 22) and "GOP's crusader for legal pot calls it conservative cause" (Feb. 22) have both put a spotlight on the efforts of Orange County Rep. Dana Rohrabacher to get the Justice Department to refrain from trying to shut down dis […]
Willits News, 27 Feb 2015 - With at least six bills currently in legislature, and the deadline for new bills fast approaching, the Emerald Growers Association (EGA) is pushing for the North Coast's state senator, Mike McGuire, to introduce legislature that would classify marijuana as an "agricultural product." And the organization is no longer […]
SF Weekly, 26 Feb 2015 - Need Weed? Live in Texas? Come to a California In a past life growing up on the East Coast, I had two cities topping my list of places to visit: Montreal and Amsterdam. My reasons were as obvious as they were common. In Montreal, the drinking age is 18. In Amsterdam, you can buy marijuana in a coffee shop. For a thirsty and clear-min […]
North Coast Journal, 26 Feb 2015 - The Hoopa Valley Tribe will vote this year on whether to allow medical pot growing on tribal lands. Native American tribes around the nation are deciding how to react to the federal government's announcement last year that it will let tribes decide on their own marijuana laws, a hands-off approach similar to the U.S. D […]
Sacramento News & Review, 26 Feb 2015 - I'm looking to experience Cali and would like your opinion on the finest this state has to offer. Any recommended strains or places to visit? - -B Rockk I am glad you asked. With springtime on the way, now is the perfect time to start planning daytrips through the cannabis countryside. You will need a letter o […]
Los Angeles Times, 25 Feb 2015 - Re "Catch and release," Feb. 22 It's unfortunate to see law enforcement leaders take the line that locking up problem drug users or threatening them with felony jail time is the way to get them straightened out. Law enforcement never liked Proposition 47 and actively tried to kill it, but its pique doesn't […]
East Bay Express, 25 Feb 2015 - How the GOP Led the Way in Defunding the War on Medical Weed. The American people, in a strange way, can thank Republicans for the historic end to the federal war on medical marijuana. Due to a weird mix of events, newly elected House Republicans got a chance to do something they wanted - represent their constituents' vie […]
Anderson Valley Advertiser, 18 Feb 2015 - Bill Bennett, who had been Secretary of Education under Reagan and Drug Czar under George H.W. Bush, was on the talk shows last Sunday plugging his new book, "Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America." Co-author Robert White is a former federal prosecutor. An obsequious piece abou […]
North Coast Journal, 19 Feb 2015 - A weeeeeird thing is happening in Colorado. All of the tax money the state collected from recreational marijuana transactions during its first year of legalization - $44 million from the 28 percent sales tax - has to be returned, thanks to a tax loophole in the state's constitution. While high state revenues must have […]