National Pot Policies Must Be Reconciled
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National Pot Policies Must Be Reconciled
Posted by CN Staff on October 23, 2011 at 05:14:56 PT
Daily News Editorial
Source: Los Angeles Daily News 
California -- The medical marijuana laws never have been as simple as California voters intended. Now, though, the tangle of federal, state and local policies is getting downright silly. Before something really bad happens, authorities must nip this confusion - pardon the expression - in the bud. Fifteen years after Prop. 215 made marijuana for medical use exempt from anti-drug laws, the story is going five directions at once.
The Obama administration announced a stepped-up effort this month to shut down dispensaries that purport to sell medical marijuana but actually deal recreational pot for big money. U.S. attorneys also are considering action against media that accept dispensaries' ads. The feds' moves could be applauded by those who support the letter and spirit of the original state referendum and want to see the medical marijuana movement protected from the taint of lawbreakers. Except that, while this is going on, federal drug laws that conflict with state drug laws seem to be getting in the way of cities' efforts to make sure the medical marijuana dispensary system operates properly. And local officials hold out little hope for a quick resolution. Just as a Superior Court ruling last week upheld Los Angeles' ability to limit the number of dispensaries in the city, a state Court of Appeal ruling stymied the effort by striking down a Long Beach ordinance. Just to show how complex all of this has grown, read the following passage from the state court's ruling. Wrote the court: "There is a distinction in law between not making an activity unlawful and making the activity lawful. An activity may be prohibited, neither prohibited nor authorized, or authorized." It's just another semantic twist in the game that began with the crucial distinction between "decriminalizing" and "legalizing" medical marijuana. In 2010, some opponents of the successful L.A. ballot initiative to tax dispensaries made the tricky argument that to tax them was to legitimize them. Now we have the state court saying that when a city regulates the numbers, locations and activities of marijuana dispensaries, it is in effect authorizing storefront marijuana sales - and that's against U.S. law, which trumps California law. If you're befuddled, don't blame yourself. This really is confusing. The L.A. City Attorney's Office hopes the state Supreme Court will overturn the Long Beach ruling, but that wouldn't happen for at least a year. Meanwhile, cities like L.A. are trying to figure out how to make sure they have an appropriate number of dispensaries, in the right places (keeping them away from schools and parks, and spread out from each other), providing the right service without inviting lawsuits. More confusion: Earlier this month, Rand Corp. published a study concluding that crime increased in surrounding areas when a medical marijuana dispensary was shut down. Weeks later, the study was retracted amid complaints that it was fundamentally flawed. What's the truth? Rand is reviewing its data. Two trends hang over all of this. Marijuana traffickers are reported to be taking advantage of the legal gray areas by growing pot in backyards and open farmland, often avoiding arrest by claiming the pot is for medical use. And marijuana opponents are seeing confirmation of their fear that medical use would crack open the door to general acceptance of pot. A Gallup national poll released last week showed 50 percent for and 46 percent against full legalization. This appears to be the first time more Americans have supported it than opposed it - as some headline writers put it, an "all-time high." Also last week, the California Medical Association called for legalization. However, the stance seems based more on doctors wanting to avoid pressure to sign off on patients' marijuana use than on a belief that pot is good for you. These warring trends and policies set up the possibility that one of the voters' objectives will be thwarted. Either the public's taste for legitimate medical marijuana dispensaries will suffer from cities' inability to impose needed restrictions, or the legal confusion will allow illegitimate growers, sellers and buyers to proliferate. As with some other issues - think of illegal immigration - the absence of a workable and consistent national policy has created a patchwork of approaches in the 16 states where medical marijuana is legal, as well as a mess for local law enforcement. Californians should remind their federal representatives what voters here want and demand a national policy to match. Fifteen years in, this shouldn't be so complicated. Source: Los Angeles Daily News (CA)Published: October 23, 2011Copyright: 2011 Los Angeles Newspaper GroupWebsite: http://www.dailynews.comContact: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #6 posted by Lucas on October 28, 2011 at 08:25:42 PT
the president has no impact on prohibition
> If Obama is a shrewd political animal with the cojones worthy of the office, then one of his options is to simply accept the original recommendation presented to Congress as a result of the Timothy Leary decision a full generation are assuming Obama has personal power. He does not. He marches to the beat of the entrenched prohibitionist agencies.In fact, I think his administrations current attack on medical marijuana, is an attempt to raise his popularity rating.As he clearly showed after the election, he does not take pot smokers really makes no difference who is president. The DEA and NIDA, as well as the IRS, BATF, DOJ and others, are all being run by the same prohibitionists that were in power during Bush. Bush btw, also promised to leave medical cannabis up to the states.. Never happened..
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 25, 2011 at 11:39:19 PT
I, personally, feel great pain over this stuff.
This kind of thing should not happen to Americans. It is part of why we busted loose from the British. And now... we have let some greedy so-in-so, lusting for power and control, "terrify" us into allowing it all over again. And again and again. Another Isolated Incident even turned on one of their very own ranks in this particular "Isolated incident".
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Comment #4 posted by Oleg the tumor on October 25, 2011 at 10:13:44 PT:
Reconciliation? . . Well, Pass the Peace Pipe . .
Leave us alone. Reconcile yourselves to it. This article does everything but call for legalization for the same reasons cited by CA Doctors. But it falls just short, because it may be a "test article", just to get a whiff of the political wind. Cut to the video of Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"  Expect to see a lot more "Editorial Fishing Expeditions" in the coming months, because The Times, they are a-changin. 
Now that the President feels the need to "call the option play" commonly used by incumbents with negative yardage, namely - become "Mr. Law and Order" to overcome the gridlock with conservatives (damn, that Job Bill didn't pass! . . . Let's see, how much HARP money do we have left? ... What else can we do with housing? ...) 
So by treating California like Chicago under Prohibition and by deporting every illegal immigrant with a busted tailight, can Obama convince conservatives that he will "behave" well enough to deserve four more years? 
Obama made it as perfectly clear as Nixon's ghost on the campaign trail that ICE needed reform - especially as to how families were separated. "He entered the Furnace to repair it and emerged instead, a defective product identical to the rest." - My own take on the present Administration.Remember, the rate of change itself increases in speed geometrically over time. But "four more years" of this?We'll all be stark raving mad by then. 
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Comment #3 posted by CropReport on October 24, 2011 at 08:14:59 PT
"rumored to be a possibility"
Consider it "rumored".
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on October 24, 2011 at 08:00:48 PT
Wow, that's complicated!.......wait really, that?
To paraphrase the judge, "It is either prohibited, allowed or neither." Complicated?Oh, my head is complicated.You've got to be kidding. You know, what truly makes medical marijuana laws complicated are Prohibitionists trying to find any way possible to fight them.  
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Comment #1 posted by Oleg the tumor on October 23, 2011 at 15:13:01 PT:
The cards are being played…
Strangely enough, the strongest card here is still in Pres. Obama's hand.
Here is a sitting president with an extremely low overall approval rating. He has tried for Landmark Legislation in his first term, (showing up his political opponents and inspiring them to bring about a legislative gridlock) 
  Whatever The Nine decide, expect a lot of screaming out of somebody's locker room.  
According to the latest polls, Obama is losing support from the Hispanic community. Also in the news this week is a poll showing more people favoring decriminalizing marijuana than against. Doctors in California have made it a point to call for legalization because it's too difficult to make boat payments with all the crossfire. The 10th amendment is getting a lot of interest recently, and the closer people look at that amendment the weirder the present situation gets.
 If Obama is a shrewd political animal with the cojones worthy of the office, then one of his options is to simply accept the original recommendation presented to Congress as a result of the Timothy Leary decision a full generation ago. We all know what that recommendation was, and we know that the government's response to it disappeared into a political black hole. If he decided to do this as a "November Lightning" tactic, (or even if it is rumored to be a possibility) expect Republican hopefuls to breach the issue first.
Of course even in the wildest fantasy, this would involve a knife in the back for many, but hey that's politics.
If you run with the bulls you might get gored.
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