California was the first state to legalize medical in the nation. Since that time, around half of the states and the District of Columbia have followed in California’s footsteps and some have even gone so far as to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This November, in addition to the hugely important presidential election, voters in California will be voting on Proposition 64. This ballot initiative, if successful, would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in the state.
While this is good news to many, some in the medical marijuana community aren’t supporting this effort according to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times. One medical marijuana dispensary operator who was interviewed as part of this article discussed some of her concerns.
She owns a dispensary that is located in a remote corner of a large industrial park. Her business is a nonprofit corporation as they are now required to be, and serves a steady amount of patients. She knows that if the ballot measure passes, the immediate impact will be a lot more customers for her business, which seems like a good thing. However, she is concerned that soon after this happens, the large corporations will have time to set up profit-focused dispensaries and shops, and it will drive her and other small operations out of the business.
She also fears that with recreational marijuana being treated like cigarettes or alcohol instead of medicine, there will be higher taxes, and her many low income patients will no longer be able to afford their medicine. It is not just the taxes directly on the marijuana, but also the permit fees and corporate tax. She fears this will most severely impact disabled residents of Los Angeles and other parts of the state who currently rely on these small dispensaries to obtain their medical marijuana.
It should be noted that not everyone in the medical marijuana community is against the legalization of recreational marijuana. Many have been fighting for this in some form or another for decades and it shows major progress in the changing of public perception and attitudes towards medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. As our Los Angeles medical cannabis attorneys have seen, there are many in the community who are not sure if this is good or bad for the medical marijuana business.
As the article notes, one major survey among those in the California Growers Association showed that there are around 30 percent opposed to the ballot initiative, around 30 percent in support of it, and remaining participants are not sure if they support it or not. One of the reasons people have mixed feelings has nothing to do with money. It has to do with the perceptions of medical marijuana.
There is no hiding the fact that many who are opposed to medical marijuana see it merely as an excuse for people to get high and is not really medicine. If they legalize the drug and people stop getting recommendations from doctors, they fear this will legitimize that negative view. There is however, great evidence to show that marijuana is powerful and a much needed medicine for many people, but not everyone accepts this fact.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
The push to legalize pot for all has deeply divided the medical marijuana community, October 4, 2016, By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
More Blog Entries:
Medical Marijuana May be Best Solution to Painkiller Epidemic, Sept. 3, 3016, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer