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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 3, 2012

federal raids

Federal Crackdown on Dispensaries Continues in San Francisco…

There does not appear to be any end in sight for federal raids targeting marijuana dispensaries.  Attorney General Eric Holder has reiterated that they will not use federal resources to go after law abiding collectives, however that statement no longer appears true.  Without any evidence of wrongdoing, federal authorities announced their intention to shut down the iconic and world’s largest marijuana dispensary, Harborside Health Center.  This week we learned that two prominent San Francisco collectives, Vapor Room and Hope Net would also be forced to shut their doors.  HopeNet Co-founder Catherine Smith said, “The Justice Department sent our landlord one of those nasty letters.  So this is our D-Day, we have to leave.”  Ray Chico who operates the popular jar company Doob Tubes, said the dispensary closings are hurting more than just patients and collective employees.  He noticed his business also take a turn for the worse and has been forced to let go of staff.

 

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Michigan Court of Appeals Rules Cities Cannot Ban Marijuana Dispensaries…

Recently California’s 2nd Circuit of Appeals ruled that cities cannot outlaw marijuana dispensaries.  The Los Angeles City Council seemed undeterred by this and went forward with what may be considered an illegal ban on dispensaries.  Michigan courts have now issued a similar ruling.  In the city of Wyoming Michigan an ordinance was passed that outlawed collectives.   John Ter Beek of Wyoming Michigan filed a suit in 2010 challenging the ban, and the ACLU also joined the suit. Michigan’s appellate court ruled that a local ordinace does not overrule a state law.  In this case since medical marijuana is protected on a state level, local municipalities cannot enact laws that conflict with state laws and outlaw dispensaries.  Dan Korobkin of the ACLU was pleased with the ruling and said “In 2008, people across the state overwhelmingly voted to protect patients who use marijuana to treat their medical conditions from punishment and penalty.”

 

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Arizona Asked to Expand Medical Marijuana Program…

Arizona’s medical marijuana program got off to a rocky start and was delayed by two years after being passed by a vote of the people.  There are still calls by opponents of medical marijuana for Governor Jan Brewer to end the program.  Ms. Brewer did not have her most triumphant political moment in court and was chided by a federal judge for the way they handled the situation.  However, as the Governor has received a great deal of criticism by marijuana advocates, they may be praising her today.  Thirteen county attorney’s in Arizona drafted a letter formally requesting that Governor Brewer halt the medical marijuana program.  She has rejected the request and wrote a response letter where she said “I am duty-bound to implement the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, and my agency will do so unless and until I am instructed otherwise.”  Patients will be pleased to hear this as the it ultimately is the responsibility of elected officials to carry out the will of the people, even if they do not agree with a situation on a personal level.

 

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Activists Urging Costa Mesa Voters to Lift Medical Marijuana Ban…

Advocates of medical marijuana submitted close to 6,800 signatures in an effort to get an initiative on the ballot to legalize non-profit medical marijuana collectives.  Dispensary owner Robert Martinez said “It’s imperative to provide safe access for veterans and cancer patients.  I’m super stoked to bring these signatures.”  The number of signatures is 1,000 more than the 5,812 required signatures which represents 10% of the Costa Mesa population.  However, often many signatures are invalidated during ballot initiatives and if the effort requires more signatures activists will only have until August 10 if they wish to have the issue placed before voters this November.

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