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.

Mcdonalds marijuanaThe 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…


~ by ravingliberal on October 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “Raving Liberal – The Catch 22 of Medical Marijuana”

  1. California is of course now in the later stages of a campaign to ‘legalize’ pot. This would certainly ‘change’ the situation, but whether it will ‘fix’ anything, is a lot less clear.

    Several other states are tempted to emulate California.

    The main rationale/driver in CA, is the much-publicized calculation that the budget-strapped state can glean a cool billion dollars a year selling pot. If CA does end up making real money by legalizing it, then additional states will find the idea tempting, too.

    Some states will oppose pot, even if it can be handled as an overall money-maker, and will take a conservative, anti-marijuana position, regardless of profits.

    By no means do I readily see that California (or anybody else) is likely to make easy money from marijuana. A large part of the profit-potential comes at the assumption that law enforcement connected to the crop can be reduced after legalization. I see a battery of factors which suggest that actually, enforcement will become a more difficult, widespread & costly challenge, with more grow-activities taking place in the state. For legalization to allow enforcement to ‘stand down’, assumes that growers will confine themselves to lawfully-allowed activities … and that sounds unrealistic.

    Especially, if states that legitimize pot-growing begin exporting dope to other states (due to their increased grow-base and recognition of for-profit farming of the plant), there could be serious consequences both between states, and from the federal government. These ‘consequences’ could entail very high costs for states found to be the origin of exported & trafficked marijuana … easily gobbling up all the putative profits, and a great deal more.

    Alcohol – a favored comparison drug – is legal in all 50 states, in all nations signatory to standard international treaties, and is overseen & regulated at both the federal & state levels. Pot is heavily prejudiced in international relationships, and all national/federal governments are expected – by their international partners – to toe the line on marijuana agreements.

    ‘Medical marijuana’ is a mere pawn-move in the overall, global pot-game. About the best that can be said for current liberalization trends in pot, is that we may manage to substantially displace the Cartels, but if we do we will most likely ‘displace’ them with ‘ourselves’ … with all the seedy outcomes that suggests.

    For this ‘pawn-move’ idea to have an outcome as positive as current alcohol management, would require a massive overhaul of international, federal and state laws, uniformly and universally – and there is simply no indication that such transformation is in the offing.

    Medical marijuana appears to be simply a scam to provide drugs for recreational use, and the idea that states can unilaterally legalize the substance without breaking the rules and getting themselves into a mess, looks every bit as fictitious as ‘medicalization’.

    The resolution sought by those who support a fundamentally different approach to pot, needs to begin at the White House and the United Nations … not in Sacramento, in isolation. Attempting to do it the current way, is likely to result in conflicts that ultimately serve only to kick the goal further out of reach.

  2. Not sure I agree with many of your objections here–law enforcement is already in a tacit stand-down, because frankly the small potgrowers and regular users–medical or otherwise–are simply not a threat to our state security or well-being. Will legalization spawn extra regulation and legal confusion? Quite probably–but that’s not a fault of pot but a fault of governemntal bureaucracy in general. By failing to support a law that’s about personal freedom just because politicians and lawyers may tie themselves up in regulatory red tape defeats the purpose. Those who claim to support less invasive government have no reason to oppose a measure that simply acknowledges what is already going on in our midst and serves to channel benefits (aka potential profits) where it might do some good.

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