Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Medical Marijuana Laws Must Be Changed Federally to Have Any Impact

California Attorney General Jerry Brown's new attempt to settle the
nerves of medical marijuana dispensers and patients is a weak attempt
to make proposition 215 stronger.

Attorney General Brown has introduced an eleven-page directive aimed
at clearing up some issues between state and federal governments. He
believes his new guidelines will minimize legal worries and ease
patient worries.

In 1996 when proposition 215 was passed by an overwhelming vote,
medical marijuana dispensaries started popping up like Trader Joes
all over the state. People started getting prescriptions for their
"back pain" and everyone was happy.

At the same time, federally, this was all very illegal.

Twelve years has gone by and dozens of dispensaries have been opened,
been raided, and been reopened just to be raided again. Hundreds of
millions of dollars have been made from the profits and millions have
been spent on trying to fight the legislation.

Brown's eleven-page directive now gives police the ability to
distinguish between criminals and legitimate marijuana sellers. It
also protects patients from getting arrested unlawfully. Brown's plan
also will change dispensaries into non-profit or cooperatives, to cut
out big money operations that exploit the medical label and sell to
just about anyone.

One other step Brown wants to take is to change the amount of pot on
the market, making it so only a patient, caregiver or dispensary
could grow the small amount of medical marijuana needed. Brown's plan
has just cleaned up the legislation at the state level. It will not
stop the DEA from raiding dispensaries or harassing patients.

The police should already be able to distinguish criminals from
legitimate marijuana sellers. Don't the legitimate guys usually sell
during the day at a place with a sign that says medical marijuana in
neon green?

As for turning these dispensaries into non-profits, they probably
only report a quarter of their earnings as it is so this will be no
big hurdle for them to get around. I am sure there are millions of
tax-free dollars going through legitimate dispensaries.

The amount of pot on the market will not change by only allowing
patients or dispensaries to grow the plants. The law now says a
patient is allowed to grow up to six plants and a dispensary is
allowed to grow six plants per patient it serves. There is no way a
dispensary knows how many patients it has from week to week or even
day to day. If they have 65 regular patients they must 65 people that
try and go to a different dispensary every week. Does that mean they
have 130 patients and are allowed to grow 780 plants?

Making all these changes at the state level is continuing to get the
medical marijuana laws nowhere. The changes need to be made federally
and only then will the dispensers be able to run their business with
out fear from the DEA.

Newshawk: Just Say Know:
Pubdate: Wed, 24 Sep 2008
Source: Sonoma State Star (Sonoma State U, Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Sonoma State Star
Author: Benjamin Browning
Referenced: The Attorney General's guidelines
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Opinion)

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