Fair Regulation Was Never Resisted by Legitimate Dispensaries and Patients

In the wake of the Los Angeles City Council’s ban on storefront pot shops – and its subsequent repeal of that measure – a great deal has been made about previous lost opportunities to regulate. weedgirl.jpg

But Los Angeles marijuana lawyers want to be clear on one thing: It’s never been the dispensaries or the patients who were opposed to regulation. In fact, legitimate patients and operations have always welcomed and even encouraged it.

Just look at the most recent effort by the Union for Medical Cannabis Patients to initiate a replacement ordinance for the one just repealed by council members.

Now, the Los Angeles Times has published an editorial written by Lecturer Amanda Reiman of the U.C. Berkeley School of Social Welfare and a policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. In her piece, she addresses the many statements that have been made expressing positive reinforcement to federal authorities that are “finally taking some definitive action” to halt the “uncontrollable expansion” of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

She rightly points out that a lot of people see the federal government’s action as a response to the city’s inability to get control of the medicinal marijuana trade. And while it’s true that Los Angeles, like many other municipalities in California, has been snagged by numerous legal challenges, the medical marijuana community itself has been continuously working to ensure both patient access as well as community safety.

Take for example the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance, also referred to as GLACA. This was a group of collectives that came together back in 2006 to work out some industry standards of quality control. Among the steps taken by this organization:

  • Efforts to protect both patients and the communities in which they reside;
  • Efforts to develop and monitor a strict set of safety and operational guidelines for L.A. dispensaries;
  • Efforts to educate the local community about what medical marijuana is – and is not.

Still, federal authorities did not recognize this, or other efforts by the industry to self-regulate.

Instead, federal prosecutors with the Central District of California sent out 68 warning notices to dispensaries across the city, demanding that they either shutter their doors in 14 days or face the possibility of a civil forfeiture.

At no point did the federal authorities reach out to GLACA or other self-regulating bodies to see if any of those dispensaries was a member of the group or was adhering to certain guidelines.

Essentially, this was a slap in the face to those dispensaries that had been trying – without provocation or prodding from anyone – to establish safe communities and fair access.

As Reiman worded it, the U.S. attorneys appear to have little knowledge of which dispensaries are good and which are bad, but instead of stopping to try to figure it out, they are essentially plowing over all of them with a bulldozer, thereby violating state law and ultimately, the will of the people of California.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Marijuana: A failure to regulate, but not by dispensaries, Oct. 2, 2012, By Amanda Reiman, U.S. Berkely School of Social Welfare, Los Angeles Times
More Blog Entries:
Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Patients’ Union Proposes Replacement Ordinances, Oct. 2, 2012, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog