In spite of a law on California books for over a decade which allows the sale of medical cannabis to properly licensed patients, the district attorney in Los Angeles County is preparing an all-out legal assault against the “vast majority” of dispensaries.
“Hundreds of dispensaries operate under a 1996 voter initiative that allowed medical marijuana use, and a state law that allows for collective growing of marijuana,” NBC Los Angeles reported. “But based on a state Supreme Court decision last year, [LA County District Attorney Steve] Cooley has concluded that over-the-counter sales are illegal. Most if not all of the dispensaries in the state operate on that basis.”
“The vast, vast, vast majority, about 100%, of dispensaries in Los Angeles County and the city are operating illegally, they are dealing marijuana illegally, according to our theory,” Cooley said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “The time is right to deal with this problem.”
That “problem” — over the counter sales of marijuana to licensed patients — accounted for some $18 million in tax revenue for the state last year, reported The Christian Science-Monitor, during a time when California is facing the greatest budgetary challenges in its history.
However, those with prescriptions for marijuana account for roughly 10 percent of the state’s marijuana users, according to a California NORML report (PDF link) prepared for the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance.
“In a radio interview on KABC-AM (790), Cooley reiterated his plan to close down many of the 800 to 900 medical marijuana shops believed to be operating in the city of Los Angeles,” noted the Contra-Costa Times.
“We will give them fair notice and, hopefully, they will see the light and voluntarily close down,” Cooley reportedly said. “We are going to uphold the laws of California.”
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a group which advocates the nation-wide legalization of cannabis for adults, strongly disagrees.
“Last year, the state’s attorney general issued a legal opinion that clearly stated that ‘a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law,'” MPP noted in Opposing Views. “Maybe Cooley didn’t get the memo.”
They continued: “If Cooley is somehow successful in eliminating L.A.’s medical marijuana facilities, the effect would be disastrous for patients forced to find their medicine in the underground market and would be a boon to the violent drug cartels that often supply that market. Voters in Los Angeles — who overwhelmingly support medical marijuana — are probably scratching their heads trying to figure out why their district attorney wants to enrich criminal drug dealers at the expense of patients.”
“Cooley and other officials say that in addition to selling to minors and others who do not use the drug for medical purposes, some of the dispensaries sell marijuana laced heavily with insecticides that endanger users even as they help finance Mexican drug cartels,” Contra-Costa added.
There are three voter-sponsored initiatives circulating California at the moment which seek to put complete legalization and taxation of marijuana on the state-wide ballot in 2010, according to the Orange County Register.
“If one of these initiatives passes, California would become the first state to legalize marijuana and impose a tax on it, a move proponents say could help get the state out of an unprecedented budget crisis,” the paper reported.
DA Cooley’s first targeted dispensary is “Organica,” in Culver City, according to Mercury News.
“We have our strategy and we think we are on good legal ground,” Cooley said, the LA Times noted.
Marijuana is California’s most valuable cash crop, responsible for over $14 billion in annual sales, according to Time magazine. If legalized and taxed, it could produce $1.3 billion or more in revenues for the state, California tax collectors have estimated.
Steve Cooley photo sample credit: Los Angeles Times.
‘Unhinged’ Meghan McCain hurls obscenities at The View’s executive producer in front of audience: report
Meghan McCain's job is safe on "The View" -- although producers and her co-hosts are growing increasingly tired of her antics.
Sources told the Daily Mail that McCain blew up at the show's producers in front of the studio audience after moderator Whoopi Goldberg had to restart a segment Tuesday after she confused a law professor with a Justice Department official.
How Donald Trump and his favorite morning show ‘Fox & Friends’ reviewed the first Democratic debate
The reviews from the right are in: President Donald Trump took shots at the left-leaning cable network MSNBC after technical difficulties brought the first Democratic presidential debate to a standstill. Meanwhile, the co-hosts of "Fox & Friends" found themselves "scratching their heads" over the decision of three of the candidates on stage who answered multiple questions in Spanish.
Midway through the evening, when audio issues required moderators Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow to call an early commercial break, Trump added, "@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for having such a horrible technical breakdown in the middle of the debate. Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!"
Charles Blow drops the hammer on ‘sexual predator’ Trump in brutally blunt NYT column
In a harsh and uncompromising column for the New York Times, political commentator Charles Blow expressed nothing but disgust about the latest sexual assault allegations levied against Donald Trump and despaired that Americans have become so numb to accusations against the president that he is not sure anything can stop him from being re-elected.
Beginning, " I am simply disgusted by what’s happening in America," Blow immediately added, "My political differences with this president and his accomplices in Congress — and now on the Supreme Court — are only part of the reason. Indeed, those differences may not be the lesser reason, and that, for me, says a lot."