California Medical Marijuana Supporters Aim For Ballot Initiative

Frustrated by continued attacks on California’s medical marijuana industry, supporters will now try to get voters to approve a ballot initiative that aims to keep the federal government from continued interference.

Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries are important businesses in the community because providing this drug is important to patients suffering from these debilitating medical ailments.
Pharmacies do the same, yet they are under much less scrutiny and regulation than medical marijuana businesses. History has shown us that doctors and pharmacists have been known to abuse the laws and over-prescribe powerful narcotic pills. Yet it’s medical marijuana businesses that are being raided and forced to close. Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers may be required in these situations to ensure that patients and businesses are treated right.

According to The Sacramento Bee, medical marijuana industry officials are hoping the November ballot initiative will keep federal regulators and prosecutors from continuously sticking their noses into California’s business.

Growers, dispensaries and union leaders are rallying together to push for the initiative, which would regulate the state’s medical marijuana trade, which is valued at an estimated $1.5 billion. They are hoping to raise the $2 million needed to get the measure on this year’s ballot. The voter drive could start soon.

The industry is mostly governed by local politicians. Often municipal governments have different rules that can conflict with state law. The initiative would largely allow state lawmakers to regulate the industry instead of having fragmented rules from county to county and city to city. A Department of Consumer Affairs enforcement bureau would be created and would include a majority of people from the medical marijuana community. The board would determine who gets licenses, set standards for the industry and also oversee enforcement.

Since October, the number of medical marijuana dispensaries statewide has dropped by 25 percent from 1,200 to 900. This is due to police raids, a federal crackdown by government prosecutors and reaction from court cases that said some city and county rules for regulating medical marijuana dispensaries were unconstitutional.

Local union leaders believe that the initiative, if passed, would help save many jobs in the medical marijuana industry. Medical marijuana industry officials also largely support the change.

Federal regulators have sent threatening letters, forced legitimate businesses out of their spaces and otherwise harassed people who are just trying to get by.

The initiative would tax businesses 2.5 percent to fund the new regulations. Counties and cities would be forced to allow one dispensary for every 50,000 residents and prevent banning dispensaries without voter approval. Users, advocates, policy specialists, researchers, union members and people with experience in the industry would be on the board.

The supporters of the initiative are also encouraging lawmakers to create policies and legislation that solves problems and doesn’t create new ones. Industry officials are hoping that the initiative, ultimately, will keep federal regulators from butting in. But the other hope is that illegitimate businesses might not be able to operate, thus keeping out bad apples.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles, throughout Orange County and elsewhere throughout Southern California. Call 949-375-4734 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Show Your Voice And Stand Up to Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Ban: January 30, 2012
Additional Resources:

California pot industry’s next move: Ballot initiative for state regulation, by Peter Hecht, The Sacramento Bee

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