Medical Pot Proposal Erases Compassion
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Medical Pot Proposal Erases Compassion
Posted by CN Staff on September 26, 2009 at 04:15:13 PT
By Sandy Banks
Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, CA -- She didn't know whether she'd have the nerve to speak. But Judy Bowen signed the list and took a seat amid the pot smokers and growers, the lawyers and doctors, the Rastafarians and AIDS patients crowded into the Los Angeles City Council hearing room.And when her turn came, she gripped her cane, made her way to the microphone and joined a chorus of would-be lawbreakers, there to fight a proposed ordinance that would ban the sale of medical marijuana in Los Angeles.
Bowen showed up at the council hearing because renegade marijuana shops have become the scourge of neighborhoods like hers in South Carthay, where a dozen storefront dispensaries have sprouted along Pico Boulevard between La Cienega and La Brea.And because she "holds a prescription for medical marijuana" and sometimes relies on the drug for "extra help" with the pain from an autoimmune disorder."I was expecting the city attorney's office to take a hard line with regulations, like how far they should be from schools and places of worship," Bowen told me after the hearing.But she was shocked to learn that the ordinance being considered would stop over-the-counter sales at dispensaries and allow only "collectives," where patients would have to plant, grow and harvest the marijuana they need."I can't grow my own," said Bowen, a 56-year-old former talent agent. "I have a brown thumb."The line drew laughs from council members. But the prospects for patients like her aren't very funny.In the 13 years since California voters approved the nation's first initiative allowing the "compassionate use" of marijuana for medical ailments, Los Angeles officials have taken a hands-off approach.The result was an explosion of unregulated marijuana outlets -- from four outlets four years ago to more than 600 shops today."The profit-making motive is huge," said Councilman Dennis Zine, who launched the regulation effort in response to complaints of crime and neighborhood blight."There's a legitimate use for [medical marijuana] and we want to help people who . . . need it for the right purpose," he said. "But you've got all these places making a ton of money, where any kind of excuse can get you a prescription. . . . That part of the abuse we need to address."Still, even Zine, a retired cop, thinks the city attorney's proposal "is a little too Draconian in its interpretation. We might have to come up with some compromise," he said.The city attorney's office contends that the state's medical marijuana initiative does not allow sale of the otherwise illegal drug, only the "cultivation and exchange" among members of patient and caregiver collectives.Now, dispensary operators manage to comply by calling themselves collectives, having customers sign up to join when they make a buy, and labeling the money charged for the drug "donations."Under the city's attorney's plan, that would not be good enough. Dispensaries would have 90 days to adopt more stringent standards, "cease operations," or be shut down.The new standards would require collectives to set up their own marijuana growing operations -- with video monitors and security alarms -- located at least 1,000 yards from schools and parks, and hidden from "any public or other private property."Now, dispensaries take in as much marijuana as they can sell, most from pot farms in Northern California. The new law would allow each collective to grow no more than 100 plants at a time, or keep more than five pounds of dried marijuana on hand.And no more signing up on the spot. Patients would register in advance by name, address and phone number. No cash would change hands. The collective's records would specify "the exact nature of each member's participation" and could be reviewed by police at any time, "without need for a search warrant, subpoena or court order."Are these patients or parolees we're talking about?We have to face the reality that our broken medical marijuana delivery system needs fixing. It has grown so large, so fast, with so little regulation, that dispensaries have become a magnet for thieves and a cover for illicit drug dealing.Even patients would welcome more scrutiny.When a new dispensary opened recently near her home, Bowen -- the vice president of her neighborhood association -- paid a visit, with her prescription."I was shocked. The building was falling apart. There was a stained carpet, a ripped sofa, a thuggy-looking guy" with what looked like the bulge of a gun under his shirt, and a pushy, shady looking salesman, she said."There were just four jars of marijuana buds," Bowen told me. "That's not what a dispensary is supposed to be. . . . I felt like I'd walked into an episode of 'The Wire.' "There must be a way to shut down that kind of place and still protect legitimate operations -- where the guy behind the counter can explain the difference between Captain Planet and Master Kush and knows which strain will quell the nausea of chemotherapy and which can ease the pain of arthritis.This proposal seems not just strict, but mean.Is it fair, or even reasonable, to require people suffering from cancer, anorexia, AIDS, spasticity, chronic pain-- conditions listed by name in the Compassionate Use Act -- to work the fields in exchange for medication?It's simple, the lawyers told me: Cash transactions violate the state's medical marijuana law.The proposed ordinance "may appear tough," conceded Deputy City Atty. Heather Aubry. "But everything that we've said is based on the law and the [court] cases. That's what we have to focus on, not whether or not we think it's fair, not whether we like it, not whether it's the most convenient method. . . ."We don't feel that we are going against the intent of voters," she said.I think she's selling the voters short. We know what compassion looks like, and this isn't it.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Sandy BanksPublished: September 25, 2009Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #7 posted by rchandar on September 28, 2009 at 21:04:37 PT:
Proposed Ordinance
I believe that such an ordinance is completely unfair and unrealizable. Plants don't just grow overnight, and being diagnosed with asthma or chronic back pain does not mean that you're going to be good at plant science. The plants themselves take 3-4 months to harvest; what do these people do in the mean time?And as for cash sales being illegal under the ordinance. That's a joke. Does California have a legal production scale that could match sales (though we're now saying grow-your-own) such that a credit card company could authorize debits of marijuana? I seriously doubt it. No, this measure would not only shut the dispensaries: it's a mockery of Prop 215. The whole idea of the law being passed was to provide marijuana for patients with illnesses and injuries that merited using marijuana as medicine. To tell these folks to stick a seed in the ground, it's okay is not good medical care. Not at all.They're worried about crooks selling MJ and recreational users buying in. I don't think that's a fair complaint, either. Either MJ is a legitimate part of the pharmaceutical world, or it isn't. That means it must be available, and in such a way that it can compete with other medicines. This ordinance essentially condemns MMJ patients to obscurity and silence, not maintain "the law" at all. I sincerely hope they vote down this measure, and encourage anyone who can voice their opposition.--rchandar
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on September 26, 2009 at 16:39:37 PT
Just a Comment
This is always the slowest month of the year but it picks up later in the fall. I know how much we hope Jack recovers but I also want to mention I feel sad for Marc Emery. Monday is the day. I don't think anyone can say that he hasn't always been a character. I feel sorry for his wife and for Marc. I hope something good will come out of all of this for them.
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Comment #5 posted by Storm Crow on September 26, 2009 at 11:56:58 PT
OT- new email addy for my list
For some unknown reason, the Canadian email for distributing my list of MMJ studies, has been shut down! I have no clue why, but they say "Suspicious activity has been detected on your account." What? Sending my list to cannabis activists and educating people is now "suspicious activity"? Sheesh!So, I have set up a NEW account at a friendly MMJ activist site. The new email to get my list is i.wantgrannyslist(at) 
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Comment #4 posted by Storm Crow on September 26, 2009 at 10:40:35 PT
Why not let the people figure it out....
If ANY shop (not just a dispensary) is dirty, understocked, poorly run or otherwise unacceptable- it eventually loses its customer base to well run shops and goes under. Where is the problem? Time will take care of the less desirable dispensaries. "Draconian measures" are not necessary.And everything must be "hidden from public view"? Like we are "dirty dopers" and should be ashamed for being ill and using a herbal medicine. 1000 feet from churches? As if a heaven sent, healing herb is "evil". Will legal cannabis users next be required to carry a bell and shout "UNCLEAN" as we walk by others? Or just wear an arm band with a cannabis leaf on it? "We know what compassion looks like, and this isn't it."
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Comment #3 posted by museman on September 26, 2009 at 09:52:53 PT
this is how
the status quo perpetuates its illicit power;".....with video monitors and security alarms -- located at least 1,000 yards from schools and parks, and hidden from "any public or other private property."Ordinances, fees, and licensing. The ultimate control of a people immersed in fake values systems such as economics.Like who can afford such a thing? Those who got money. A medical user just trying to make the best of the rest of their life, certainly can't. And that my friends is the real motive and agenda behind the false rulers; mayors, DAs, Commissioners, cops, and their plethora of support peripherals -all the way to the office of the 'president.' (are there some sincere people in those ranks? I sure hope so, but I'm not seeing much.)So go out there, get your permission slips from Big Brother and stop complaining, right?Damn corrupt humans.REPEAL PROHIBITION
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on September 26, 2009 at 07:15:30 PT
It's not fair, reasonable, just, or right, at all.
"Is it fair, or even reasonable, to require people suffering from cancer, anorexia, AIDS, spasticity, chronic pain-- conditions listed by name in the Compassionate Use Act -- to work the fields in exchange for medication?".
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 26, 2009 at 06:16:05 PT
Pot Advocates Think Legalization is Nearer
By C.W. NeviusSaturday, September 26, 2009Is the smell of revolution in the air at Union Square?Or just a whiff of reefer madness?The 38th annual national convention for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws wraps up today at the downtown Grand Hyatt, and groups of medical marijuana users have been casually passing joints on the outdoor patio. It's probably what some visitors from Des Moines were afraid would happen when they landed in the marquee city of the Left Coast.But NORML delegates, basking in the glow of their Barack Obama themed-convention motto - "Yes We Can-nabis" - are convinced this isn't a fringe issue any more.Snipped:URL:
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