LA Needs a Clear Policy for The MJ Industry
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LA Needs a Clear Policy for The MJ Industry
Posted by CN Staff on August 25, 2010 at 08:10:50 PT
Source: Los Angeles Daily News
California -- If there was ever an industry that cried out for more regulation, more oversight, more legitimacy, it's California's medical marijuana industry.Yes, we're calling it an industry. While those who proffer and use medicinal pot may call themselves caregivers and patients, and they may present their dispensaries as co-ops and collectives, the reality is that medical marijuana has become a business. People pay a doctor to get a "recommendation" to legally use pot. They pay a dispensary for the weed.
Yet California can't seem to make up its mind on how to treat this rapidly growing industry. The regulators seem split between treating the growth and distribution of medical marijuana as a communal, nonprofit endeavor, akin to a community garden, and as a business that should be regulated, inspected and taxed to boost government coffers.The city of Los Angeles is a perfect example of this kind of schizophrenic thinking. The city recently permitted and sanctioned a maximum of 186 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, and some City Council members have sought to impose a cannabis business tax. Yet, Los Angeles Police Department officials have said the vast majority of the dispensaries are illegal because they offer the drug for sale, instead of operating as nonprofit collectives whose members grow and cultivate marijuana for their shared use.Recently, two businessmen stepped into this quandary with a proposal to open a cannabis farm in a Canoga Park warehouse. Plant Properties Management would lease space to licensed growers, then test, package and track the bud to assure safe, legal medical marijuana. They said their plan would allow L.A. to regulate pharmaceutical pot from start to finish and bring a shadowy industry into the full light of day.But Councilmen Greig Smith and Dennis Zine, who both represent the West Valley, are adamantly opposed to the idea of a large-scale medicinal marijuana growing operation. While their opposition may be well-intended, they are ignoring a huge issue - which is where does the marijuana offered in dispensaries come from? It's unclear.Medical marijuana advocates say the weed comes from small-scale grow houses or large-scale cultivators in Northern California. But law enforcement officials have suggested the supply could be coming from illegal marijuana plantations in public parks and Mexican drug cartels. This is a largely unregulated supply chain for an increasingly regulated market.The city of Oakland is one of the few jurisdictions tackling the medical marijuana industry head on. It recently approved licensing large-scale pot growing plants. Officials there said regulating cultivation is a public safety issue. The fire department found too many electrical fires caused by shoddy indoor grow operations and police noted robberies and crime from grow houses. Oakland will also capture a hefty tax on the licensed pot sales.Like Oakland, Los Angeles leaders should seriously consider proposals to legitimize large-scale marijuana cultivation. The fact is, medical marijuana dispensaries are legal, permitted and able to serve thousands of customers. It makes sense to regulate the entire process, from plant to sale.Source: Los Angeles Daily News (CA)Published: August 25, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Newspaper GroupWebsite: http://www.dailynews.comContact: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on August 25, 2010 at 09:24:27 PT
the poor govt.
oh woe to the poor govt. of LA! The politicians can't keep their greedy hands off cannabis tax money, yet the police and prison thugs want their gravy train of easy beat-downs and seizures to continue.It's not easy being a corrupt small-time politician these days.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on August 25, 2010 at 09:01:23 PT
"They pay a dispensary for the weed." 
They can't make up their minds, is it dope, a drug or a weed?In this case, a weed.What then is an herb?An herb is a weed that has found a place in society.This makes them the dope!
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