Raving Liberal – The Catch 22 of Medical Marijuana
With the recent announcement by LA County District Attorney Steve Cooley, that “‘The vast, vast, vast majority, about 100%, of Medical Marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County and the city are operating illegally, they are dealing marijuana illegally, according to our theory” and his stated intention to shut over 900 Dispensaries down, Mr. Cooley has created a legal catch-22 of monumental proportions.
The REASON why there are hundreds of dispensaries in Los Angeles is because the 1996 law simply does not provide adequate legal access to Marijuana for legal patients. It is suggested that the “spirit of the law” was for patients and growers to come together in “collectives” without a middle man in the form of the dispensaries. But there is a fundamental flaw in this concept. While legitimate smaller co-op growing operations are indeed springing up all over the state, and California growers provide far and away the majority of all Marijuana sold in California Dispensaries, there is simply no effective method by which growers and patients can connect without a permanent storefront type location. There are countless thousands of patients who cannot grow themselves, do not know anyone who can, and without a permanent dispensary location, they will have impaired access to the medicine they are legally entitled to. This problem was addressed recently by the state attorney general in 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.”
Also, the concept that the law also prohibits making profit from the sale of Marijuana is completely unrealistic. Growing Marijuana costs MONEY and LOADS of time. The growers simply will not do it if they cannot be compensated. Without profit, there simply will not be enough supply, and the patient will have to break the law to obtain their medicine.
Mr. Cooley and other officials have suggested 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,” The irony of this statement, is that closing the dispensaries does exactly that, it drives LEGAL patients back into he arms of the illegal black market, and funds the violence that comes hand in hand with the illegal drug trade.
Cooley’s suggestion that many dispensaries are selling to minors and this is one of his motivations is patent BS. If they have proof of dispensaries doing that, then bust THOSE dispensaries, not ALL of them. Every dispensary I have ever visited (yes I have visited dispensaries for research..) aggressively polices their customers Medical Marijuana prescriptions, and many won’t even let you in if you are not on file or come in with a prescription, so I find this statement very sensational and hard to believe. It is far more likely that the overwhelming majority of dispensaries are extremely careful to be completely legal because no one wants to give the unreasonable drug prohibitionists like Mr. Cooley any ammunition to mess things up.
But the bottom line to all this is California law provides for patients to have EQUAL legal access to medical marijuana. The ONLY way to do that is to have dispensaries, and dispensaries have to be able to BUY from growers. For money. It’s the only way the patients right to access to their medicine will be fairly fulfilled. As for the fact that there are 900+ dispensaries, it is because the market supports that many, and likely many more. There are thousands of Liquor stores in Southern California. If the powers that be in LA law enforcement are concerned about dispensaries making huge profits as middle men, then the more there are, the less each will make.. The market will cull the weak and competition will limit the strong.. And patients will not have to go to drug dealers to buy pesticide laden (how much of this pesticide is sprayed by the respective governments under the behest of the US is anybody’s guess) Marijuana grown in Mexico or Columbia. The sad truth is the only people who benefit from Mr. Cooleys war on the Medical Marijuana community is the incredibly rich and violent Mexican Cartels. Makes one wonder…