Mon08312015

Last updateThu, 27 Aug 2015 7pm

LOS ANGELES Monday, August 31st 2015 2:47

 'A PROMISE IS A PROMISE'

Special to CityWatch: Can Jorge Ramos Save The American Immigrant Dream?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA- President Barack Obama’s disappointing failure to champion immigration reform, what The Washington Post called his “immigration train wreck,” may be the consummate example of the failure of the Obama presidency on Latino issues. It is also a tell-tale sign of the potential trouble the Democratic Party could find itself in…

Museum Row’s Billion Dollar Block Party

Tim Deegan
EXCLUSIVE TO CITYWATCH--City planners, developers, community members and other stakeholders are having a block party in the Miracle Mile: no champagne but plenty of stress served to order, depending on who you're aligned with. Issues with development: take a seat. Raising hundreds of millions of dollars for development, take several seats. Here…

What Is It About The Homeless That Makes Us So Angry?

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD--It was a long public hearing at my neighborhood council the other night. Outraged, obviously frightened homeowners were pitted against advocates for the homeless. At least that's how it started, but it's not how it ended. It's curious, but in this contentious culture of ours, it turned out to be possible to have a meeting of the…

Kill the Transit Tax, Kill the Olympics

Ken Alpern
ALPERN AT LARGE-You know, it's indeed possible that there will be enough voters who won't remember (or care about) the current shenanigans and budget games in the City of LA--enough to allow a 2/3 vote to pass a new sales tax measure in November 2016. Then again, maybe enough voters will remember, and the initiative will (like its predecessor…

Headlines Don’t Lie – LA Needs Leadership

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-I’m talking to you as a man who policed Los Angeles streets for over 30 years and established policy for another 14 years -- two years as an elected Charter Reform Commissioner and 12 years as an elected Los Angeles City Councilman. Take a look at the latest Los Angeles News and Breaking Headlines. They tell a frightening story…

Airbnb Just Floats by the PLUM Committee

Tony Butka
THE CITY-I was going to do my usual flip and cynical kind of a piece on the Airbnb hearing, but the issue is too important, and just maybe, all is not lost. The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing was scheduled in the Public Works Hearing Room, but so many people attended that they had to move it to City Council Chambers…

Bikeshare Comes to Los Angeles … Sort Of

Richard Risemberg
WAITING ON LA--Here’s photographic confirmation that bikeshare has arrived in LA: Not the City of Los Angeles, though; not quite yet. That’s a live bikeshare station in Santa Monica, on Main Street, next to one of the two bike corrals that grace the block south of Ashland. (There’s another and very busy bike corral two blocks north.) This is a…

The Summer of My Discontent ... LA Version

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN--I think there is such a thing as the "Dog Days of Summer" since my usual sunny disposition ... glass half full demeanor ... seems to be out of sorts of late. There is a litany of things that are annoying me, aside from the heat. I am disappointed in our local government ... not all of them, but a majority. Like many of you I studied the…

Marilyn Who? Ask Councilman Krekorian or Mayor Garcetti

Richard Lee Abrams
PRESERVATION POLITICS-Who doesn’t like Marilyn Monroe? Councilmember Krekorian, that’s who! Why else would Councilmember Paul Krekorian support the demolition of one of the most significant homes of Marilyn Monroe? With the blessings of Mayor Garcetti, who believes in eradicating as much of Hollywood’s history as possible, and with the support of…





Record Breaking! Josh Groban sings Trump


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Medical Marijuana: Greed is Hurting the Sick

COMPASSION VS. PROFIT - California’s fast-growing marijuana industry is quickly learning that it doesn’t pay to tease the tiger.

After years of acting as though federal drug laws don’t apply west of the Arizona and Nevada borders, the entrepreneurs of the pot biz now have to deal with a major crackdown that threatens the use of medical marijuana by anyone, anywhere in the state.

The only surprise is that anyone is surprised.
When Prop. 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, went on the November 1996 ballots, medical marijuana supporters brought out a steady stream of mighty sick folk, people in the final stages of AIDS, ravaged by chemotherapy or bent under the weight of life-threatening ailments.

Legalize the medical use of marijuana and these people can be helped. So the voters did.

But sick people were never the real reason for Prop. 215. They were just the window-dressing for a cynical effort to bring about the de facto legalization of pot in California. And now years of greed and political hubris by the backers of that measure are hurting the very people they purported to help.

Fifteen years later, medicinal pot isn’t exactly being dispensed by white-coated pharmacists at the corner drug stores.

A recent edition of a Bay Area alternative newspapers features ads promising a “free edible on your first order” or “save $10-$15 on every 1/8th” and “we pay the sales tax.”

Then there are the doctors who evaluate patients for the required medical marijuana cards, the ones who advertise that “We Match Competitors’ Prices.”

While Prop. 215 specifically allowed the use of medical marijuana for treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis and migraine, it also allowed its use for “any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.”

A list provided by one evaluation service now includes 258 conditions that pot can help, including gout, obesity, alcoholism, senile dementia and writers’ cramp.

A list of guidelines provided by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown in 2008 affirmed that all medical marijuana operations had to be operated as cooperatives or collectives, serving only their members.

They could only exist as non-profits, since “nothing in Proposition 215 … authorizes collectives, cooperatives or individuals to profit from the sale or distribution of marijuana.

Yet a marijuana growers group that wanted to build a 4,000-square-foot pot farm in Isleton in the Sacramento River delta was willing to pay an estimated $850,000 a year to the city in taxes and fees. That’s a mighty pricey non-profit operation.

In recent years, the pot business in California has been anything but an underground operation. Earlier this year, for example, growers went to the City Council with a proposal to open five new dispensaries in Oakland, each with a warehouse of up to 50,000-square-feet for a pot farm. Together they could have provided up to 20 percent of the entire state’s demand for medical marijuana.

The feds quickly stepped in and told Oakland that no way, no how was that type of operation legal, which should have been a hint about how the legal wind was blowing.

But the pot industry continued to, ah, blow smoke in the face of federal officials. A Labor Day weekend marijuana street fair in downtown Oakland featured a designated smoking area outside City Hall, where people with medical cards could light up without fear.

“People need an opportunity to take their medicine,” the festival chief told reporters.
Earlier this month, the feds finally decided enough was enough and announced a crackdown on marijuana operators and said they were more drug dealers than angels of medical mercy.

“This is not what the California voters intended or authorized, and it is illegal under federal law,” said Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. attorney based in Los Angeles. “It does not allow this brick-and-mortar, Costco-Wal-Mart-type model that we see in California.”

So federal agents across the state, often working with local district attorneys, now are working to shut down the bad guys in the marijuana world, the ones who aren’t playing by the rules.

But the same threats that work on the big growers also work on the little guys, who may be doing business the right way. When a landlord hears that the feds are threatening to seize their property if they rent to a pot dispensary, they’re not going to worry about size when they send out an eviction notice. A bank threatened with asset seizure isn’t going to do business with any pot club, even a good guy.

Expect more threats, along with some indictments and other shows of force, as federal officials remind California that Washington trumps Sacramento when it comes to drug laws.

While there will be plenty of complaints from state legislators and others officials, you can also expect plenty of California cities and counties to use the federal crackdown as a chance to shut down their local operators, even those who have been trouble-free.

The losers in this will be those people who were the focus of the original medical marijuana law, those whose symptoms can be eased and lives made better by medicinal pot.

If anyone in the pot biz cares.

(John Wildermuth is a journalist and political commentator. He blogs at FoxandHoundsDaily.com where this column was first posted.) -cw

Tags: pot, marijuana, legal marijuana, Prop 215, medical pot, medical marijuana







CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 84
Pub: Oct 21, 2011

Share