California paved the way for the medical marijuana in 1996, but the recreational use and retail sale of cannabis has yet to pass. If the legalization movement that swept election day earlier this month is any indication, this will not be true for long.
Kamala Harris was re-elected this election day, and has been seated as California’s top-cop since 2011. In a recent interview with Buzzfeed, the Attorney General shared her well-rounded views on legalizing cannabis in the state of California.
Harris summed up her personal view and acceptance of the plant with the statement,
“I don’t have any moral opposition to it or anything like that. Half my family’s from Jamaica.”
Although she may not see anything wrong with cannabis use, she cannot allow her personal feelings to run her professional stance on the matter because she is responsible for the state. To explain this, she reported, “I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I’m the top cop, and so I have to look at it from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective. I think we are fortunate to have Colorado and Washington be in front of us on this and figuring out the details of what it looks like when it’s legalized.”
Harris does not anticipate California waiting much longer to legalize with the efforts being organized to place a measure on the 2016 ballot, but thinks it is important to allow voters to decide. She pointed out, “We’re watching it happen right before our eyes in Colorado and Washington. I don’t think it’s going to take too long to figure this out. I think there’s a certain inevitability about it.”
Thinking as a top-cop should, Harris is exploring all possible angles. She understands that the path is being paved already in Colorado and Washington, and soon there will be more examples to learn from in Oregon and Alaska. Harris made it clear in further elaboration that she anticipates to learn a lot from the growing pains experienced in these states where voters already legalized,
“It would be easier for me to say, ‘Let’s legalize it, let’s move on,’ and everybody would be happy. I believe that would be irresponsible of me as the top cop. The detail of these things matters. For example, what’s going on right now in Colorado is they’re figuring out you gotta have a very specific system for the edibles. There are real issues for law enforcement, [such as] how you will measure someone being under the influence in terms of impairment to drive.”
Harris also clarified that she is looking out for the best interest of the state to avoid possible federal repercussions, “We have seen in the history of this issue for California and other states, if we don’t figure out the details for how it’s going to be legalized the feds are gonna come in, and I don’t think that’s in anyone’s best interest.”
Although, Harris is aware that recreational legalization of the plant is guaranteed in the not-so-distant future, she will not publicly endorse the issue because she has a professional responsibility to uphold. The state of California is in intelligent, capable hands that are aware of the big picture and the future of cannabis in the United States.
photo credit: Salon
On Thursday, Drug Enforcement Agents raided two Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries. The shops affected, one in LA and another in Westwood, were sister stores both named ‘The Farmacy.’ The store’s manager told the Huffington Post, “We are completely in the dark as to why this happened.” The stores have been in operation for almost 10 years before this sudden raid.
Store employees were handcuffed and detained for more than an hour, but later released. An agent on site told the Huff Post that the raid was, “Less about running the shop and more about running of the business. If this was simply about somebody selling marijuana in West Hollywood, the DEA wouldn’t be here.” The agent went on to say, “I think for those people who champion the cause of marijuana, particularly medical marijuana, I think it’s important that they hold shops to a high standard. What’s going to happen is shops like this are going to ruin it for everyone.”
The Farmacy’s attorney Bill Kroger says the club has done nothing wrong. “I represent a lot of medical marijuana clubs in LA and The Farmacy is the most compliant club in Los Angeles,” Kroger says. An LA Times article from 2007 (when the dispensary was first raided) shares the same sentiment siting that the dispensary uses legitimate doctors and limits customer purchases to less than the legal maximums.
The war on legitimate marijuana establishments has been a mixed bag under the Obama administration. Although the DEA has been more lax in it’s approach to states with their own legislation, under Obama there have been over 270 medical marijuana raids. This, even after he said “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws,” back in 2008.
If the DEA’s statement is true, and the situation was, “Less about running the shop and more about running of the business,” you might think they would just send in some tax auditors rather than confiscating products and handcuffing employees.
Considering that the some of the last statements from the DEA and Department of Justice call marijuana “A significant source of revenue for large-scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels,” its hard to believe that these are the people posing a threat to our society. Here are a few pictures of the storefront and staff, you tell me: criminal enterprise?
New guidelines for permitting medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego, California were passed, almost unanimously, by the city council in February 2014. The first permit was granted under the new terms and conditions on Wednesday. A maximum of 36 dispensary permits will be granted.
A Green Alternative is the name of the first dispensary granted operating rights, and it will be opening in Otay Mesa as soon as possible, with high hopes for the grand opening before the end of the year. During the meeting in which the permit was granted to the facility, Chief Operating Officer Zachary Lazarus addressed the city council,
“We will operate ethically and serve this community with the best intentions to help patients in need of medical grade cannabis.”
The newly adopted regulations allow only four dispensaries to operate in each one of the city council districts. Each dispensary must apply and be approved for two permits. The first of which is the Conditional Use Permit, which is approved by the city council. This permit is valid for five years from the approval date. The second permit is the Annual Public Safety Permit must be applied for through the San Diego Police Department.
There are strict zoning guidelines to follow regarding dispensary locations. No collectives are permitted to operate within 1,000 feet of public schools, parks, churches, playgrounds, child care centers, or residential care facilities. Similarly, no dispensary will be permitted to operate within 100 feet of residential zones.
photo credit: Dank Depot