Existing Laws on Pot Must Be Enforced

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  Existing Laws on Pot Must Be Enforced

Posted by CN Staff on March 04, 2010 at 10:29:18 PT
By Carmen Trutanich 
Source: Los Angeles Daily News 

Los Angeles, CA -- In response to civil lawsuits filed against shops illegally selling and distributing marijuana in Los Angeles, the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access recently claimed that the City Attorney's Office was misreading California law and should dismiss these actions. I respectfully disagree. These lawsuits are based upon the plain language, spirit and intention of these public health and safety laws. More importantly, these actions do not prevent or interfere in any way with a patient's right to obtain medical marijuana from lawful collectives or other means allowed under existing law.
In 1997, the voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, which allows qualified patients and their primary caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical use. In 1997, the sale of marijuana was a felony crime under both California and federal law, and remains so today. Proposition 215 was designed to ensure that patients suffering from serious illnesses could use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. The proposition, however, did not allow for the sale of marijuana, merely its possession and cultivation. In fact, then-San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan wrote in a ballot statement supporting Proposition 215 that the proposition "only allows marijuana to be grown for a patient's personal use. Police officers can still arrest someone who grows too much, or tries to sell it." A court analyzing Proposition 215 in 1997 called its language a "delicate tightrope designed to induce voter approval." The court further noted in People v. Trippet that any suggestion that Proposition 215 acted as a sort of "open sesame" allowing for the sale of marijuana would mean that its drafters "were trying to put one over on the voters." Following the passage of Proposition215, shop owners cleverly characterized themselves as "primary caregivers" in an attempt to justify sales of marijuana. The court in another ruling, however, put an end to this obvious charade. The court summed up the shop owners' rejected argument as follows: "A person purchasing marijuana for medicinal purposes cannot simply designate ... drug dealers on street corners and sales centers such as the Cannabis Buyers' Club as the patient's `primary caregiver."' Moreover, in 2008, the California Supreme Court in People v. Mentch made clear that a "primary caregiver" was a person who consistently took care of the housing, health or safety of a patient, not a person who merely supplied the patient with marijuana. These are the words and findings of the California courts, not the City Attorney's Office. In 2003, the Legislature passed the Medical Marijuana Program Act, or MMPA, which established an identification system for medical marijuana users. The MMPA also provides that qualified patients and their primary caregivers, who "associate within the state of California in order to collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions." This provision was specifically designed to protect patients and their caregivers who legitimately pool their resources to cultivate marijuana for their medical use. Such language was obviously not designed to serve as an "open sesame" for profiteers raking in astronomical amounts of money by selling marijuana to the general public, including teenagers, most of whom are merely purchasing the marijuana for recreational use. California law clearly allows qualified patients and their primary caregivers to obtain medical marijuana. The law, however, does not allow collectives or so-called "dispensaries" to sell marijuana or otherwise unlawfully operate a highly profitable commercial enterprise under the cynical guise of purportedly providing medicine to patients. Such a sham and miscarriage of the law perpetrated by illegal shops must stop so that we can protect patients. Patients oftentimes unknowingly purchase marijuana that was smuggled into the country or grown in illegal groves causing wildlife and habitat destruction in our national parks and forests, or - worse - is contaminated with pesticides and other impurities. The position of city attorney is mandated by the U.S. and California constitutions, as well as the City Charter, to enforce the law. The law clearly prohibits the sale of marijuana and the distribution of contaminated consumer drugs and medicines. If pharmacies were found to be distributing aspirin contaminated with pesticides, how long would any bottles of that particular brand remain on store shelves? Not very long because the public would demand that the law be immediately enforced. Why should medical marijuana be subjected to any less of a consumer safety standard - especially in light of the advocates' argument that it is a medicine? If the voters or the Legislature of California believe that the laws pertaining to marijuana and consumer protection should be amended, then they must act to effect those changes. In the interim, the City Attorney's Office will continue to support and enforce existing laws that provide patients and their caregivers the right to obtain safe and reliable access to medical marijuana, including from legitimate collectives, while at the same time, protecting these patients and other residents from unscrupulous profiteers, traffickers and contaminated medicines. Note: Carmen A. Trutanich is the city attorney of Los Angeles.Source: Los Angeles Daily News (CA)Author: Carmen TrutanichPublished: March 4, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Newspaper GroupWebsite: http://www.dailynews.comContact: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #8 posted by ekim on March 19, 2010 at 08:54:53 PT
jim beck thanks for info
By the way smoking a joint ( 8 percent of available thc) vaporizer (ninetythree per cent of the available thc)can you shed some lite on this. last nite on Stossel FBN dir tv ch 359 it was on how to help Cleveland with Drew Cary -will replay over the weekend.
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Comment #7 posted by jim beck on March 17, 2010 at 13:44:53 PT:
existing laws on pot must be enforced
  I have a medical marijuana grow-op in northern British Columbia Canada. Our laws are not as lenient as yours are in California however I believe that we are not far behind you. I agree with you and think that the medical marijuana must be "monitored" for various reasons. The most important being the health and safety of the patient. When growing marijuana it is up to the grower to set the standard in growing. Only organic pesticides should be used and all fertilizers should be utilized whenever possible. Now I think that the larger and more commercial grow-ops will have a harder time complying with regulations because production and profit is their main goal. On the other hand a mom and pop grow-op tends to concentrate on the quality and cleanliness of the grow-op. Women seem to have the knack when taking care of plants and children.
  I think that more emphysis must take place in the schooling of our growers in the proper ways of growing a good organic garden. With education California will prevail and lead the world into a new age of medicine. Bully for your State and for your steadfast leadership into North America's future. Remember that nothing starts out perfectly but if we have no start at all, we make no mistakes and we have nothing to judge or change for that matter.
  I think that if one has a medical marijuana "shop" he should promote the use of "vaporizers" which are more efficient and don"t have the tar and other by products of smoking a joint. By the way smoking a joint ( 8 percent of available thc) vaporizer (ninetythree per cent of the available thc) They should also sell tester which can detect if the marijuana has been laced with cocaine or meth. Yes we must all be vigilant in this respect. Thats why we need a body to regulate and help us through this infancy stage. 
  When I say infancy, we are at medical beginnings of really discovering what medical effects medical marijuana will have on society and all of our lives. One must look at the sixty gram oil treatment that we are using in Canada to treat and cure cancer, regulate diabetes, relief of asperger's syndrome and I could go on and on. For me that is the answer a cure, not just a sedative or a painkiller, but a cure for these illnesses and diseases.
          yours truly
          Jim Beck
          Box 537 Fort Nelson B.C.
          V0C 1R0 
existing laws on pot must be enforced
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on March 04, 2010 at 12:16:30 PT
Oh man! ""delicate tightrope designed to induce voter approval."" How cunning is that? If they weren't so tricky and cunning they would have "designed" it to "induce" voter disapproval!"open sesame"? This is the second time in as many days that I've noticed prohibitionists using fairytale terms."were trying to put one over on the voters."? Trickery!"cleverly characterized themselves"? Those clever, cunning devils!If it's a law that's been clearly broken... state the fact and ease off the demonizing... political or otherwise. I mean... after all ... even if it seems wrong to us... you're just "doing your job"... after all. Is part of your job all that bitter demonizing or is it just to state the facts and charges?
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on March 04, 2010 at 11:50:32 PT
Yes, Ripit.
It needs to be really clean. Not to mention potent, yet mild, and from a very healthy specimen of the plant, and if possible, what strain or variant of the plant it is. It's hard enough that the stuff people buy for just pleasure and enjoyment is perhaps quite nasty from poor handling and such. Sometimes you can see and smell something not so good. I don't know which is the worst. Dirt... a rock... a toenail... a spider... smells like gasoline? Mold? Rot? Paraquat? Probably mold is the unhealthiest worst. There are lots of ways smuggled, black market herbs can be less than optimum. But it needs to be really clean for the weak and the sick. It would be nice if it could be clean for everyone, but for the weak and sick... it is very, very important and helpful that the herb be as clean, in every way, as possible.The bad thing about the prohibitionists... they think that when we reason and plead with them about things like this... that we have a ploy... that we're trying to trick them... to make fools of them.How do you talk to people like that? They can't hear you because they won't... They have a constant and loud internal dialog about how we are trying to fool or trick them. They get all angry and filled with, supposedly, righteous indignation about who and what we're "Using". They accuse us of trying to trick them, by tempting them to feel sympathy for the poor patients we are "Using". What? How can they be so dense? It's all a cunning plot to them.What we're "Using" is the TRUTH and they reject it. Over and over again.It's wrong for them to be arresting, killing, and persecuting people like they are in the name of substance prohibition. That's what we're trying to tell them!Paranoia is the pits.
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on March 04, 2010 at 11:30:38 PT
the aspirin argument is hilarious. He's having to dig pretty deep into the bin of lies to generate a necessary level of "fear".It appears Trutanich is merely on a mission to assure purity of cannabis.  If you believe that, I'm also offering a great stadium with pro-basketball team included if anyone is interested.... for sale cheap. Staples can be removed and I'll place your name there. Just send a down payment. 
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Comment #3 posted by vincent on March 04, 2010 at 11:26:23 PT:
This article by Carmen Whatshisname
I have never read such a phony narrative in my life.
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Comment #2 posted by ripit on March 04, 2010 at 11:02:20 PT

i mean
considered usable! 
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Comment #1 posted by ripit on March 04, 2010 at 10:59:02 PT

i'm not sure but
i don't believe anything grown in our national parks is being sold in any dispenary and if it is that shop should be shut down! thats the crap thats being sold to kids and such on the black market and wouldn't be considered usable as medicine to any but the most criticaly destitute! 
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