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Los Angeles City Council

Medical Marijuana Industry News October 5, 2012

city council

Los Angeles Patients and Activists Score Huge Victory as they Force City Council To Repeal Dispensary Ban…

The decision by the Los Angeles City Council to drop their current efforts in banning marijuana dispensaries is a huge lift for many concerned patients.  While we at have posted the story already on our page, we thought it was important to bring more focus to the issue.  The city wanted the ban as they have proved unable to come up with an adequate system of regulation.  Instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty, they decided the work would be too difficult and tried to brush the issue under the rug.  A dispensary ban would have likely lead to a resurgence of unregulated gang related marijuana sales on the street level.  This week’s victory shows how the voice of the people still matters and how great things can be accomplished.  Americans for Safe Access was able to collect the over 27,000 signatures needed to block the ban.  After the signatures were collected the City Council had the option of repealing the ban themselves or putting the vote to the people.  Many analysts expected the issue to go to a vote.  While we have been hard on how the City Council has handled the situation, we would like to applaud them in this decision.  As it was becoming more clear that there was enough voter support to repeal the ban in the City Council decided not to drag out the inevitable.


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Synthetic Marijuana Linked to Kidney Failure in Oregon Residents…

Over the course of the past year fears have grown over synthetic marijuana use.  Most state governments and the federal government have outlawed its production.  Many health complications have been linked to synthetic cannabis use with kidney failure now emerging as the newest problem.  In Oregon, 6 cases of kidney failure have been linked to use of popular products such as “Spice” and “K2”. 
State Public Health Division Director Mel Kohn, M.D., M.P.H, said “People need to know that synthetic or designer drugs like ‘spice’ or ‘synthetic amphetamines’ are chemicals that are not safe, can contain dangerous contaminants, and may cause serious harm to users – even death, If you become ill after taking a designer drug, seek medical attention immediately and bring the drug in so it can be tested.”

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Republican Senate Candidate in Washington State Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative…

Bi-partisan has become a dirty word in Washington D.C. as neither party seems willing to give the other credit.  Hopefully in Washington State this can be corrected.  Many people may associate marijuana reform with Democrats, but many Republicans, especially those who favor state rights seem to moving toward supporting marijuana.  This is the case in Washington State as Republican Senate hopeful, Michael Baumgartner, has endorsed Initiative-502.  This ballot initiative will be voted on by residents of the state and would create a system of regulating, taxing, and distributing marijuana in a similar way that alcohol is handled.  In actuality, the marijuana industry will be handled by the states Liquor Control Board.  Mr. Baumgartner explained his support of Initiative 502 by saying “It’s taking a different approach to a very expensive drug war, and potentially a better approach.  They’ve checked all the boxes as far as what you would want to see happen in terms of provisions to keep it away from children and limiting access in the public space. I’ve just been impressed with the initiative and the people running it.”  While he may be a longshot to unseat U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, he may be successful in motivating the already high support for the bill.


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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 31, 2012

marijuana patients

Los Angeles Ban On Dispensaries Appears to be Put on Hold…

The controversial decision to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles was met with resistance from activists.  Many patients have been anxious about how exactly they were going to safely access medication and if they would have to turn to traditional illegal methods of obtaining it.  The Los Angeles City Council, especially Councilman Huizar have seemed especially determined to end dispensaries even as the legalities mount against their actions.  It appears that court decisions have invalidated the right for municipalities to ban dispensaries.  While that did little to stop the city from threatening a closure which was set to take effect in days, apparently the ballot initiative from Americans for Safe Access did succeed.  Organizers submitted slightly over 49,000 votes with only 27,425 needed.  The signatures will be examined and validated which typically takes at least a few days.  If the signatures are approved then the Los Angeles City Council will have 30 days to either overturn the ban or put it a vote by residents.  Councilman Huizar still seemed determined to wipe any perceived egg off his face.  He said the city could still close shops that were in violation of state law and operating at a profit.  Of course searched extensively and could not find where ASA, or other organizers said any different.   However, eliminating all 700+ dispensaries, many of which are not making a profit is an altogether different story and may have been an overreach on the part of the City Council.

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Marijuana Decriminalization May Come to Springfield Missouri…

Many activists in Springfield Missouri have been seeking a new approach toward marijuana laws.  The goup Show Me Cannabis Regulation was successful in collecting enough signatures to get a ballot initiative to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana to the ballots.  The group was successful in collecting the required signatures.  As the case is in most areas, lawmakers can approve a ballot initiative or reject the issue and send it for residents to vote on.  While the City Council of Springfield voted 6-3 to approve the decriminalization effort, lawmakers now have 30 days to amend the bill.  The move appears to be a shrewd move aimed at keeping the issue away from a public vote.  As stated already, if the vote failed then voters would get a chance to approve the measure.  Now it seems several of the “yes” votes by the city council were simply to keep the issue in house.  Now they have 30 days to change and basically strip away the decriminalization law.  Councilman Jeff Seifried said of that he supported passing the legislation “then gutting, the entire ordinance.”  Unless our interpretation of this comment is incorrect, it sounds as if Councilman Tommy Bieker has similar plans.  He said “I will be voting in support with the intent of turning around and working out the amendment.”  Many residents may grow resentful that the City Council would take drastic measures to avoid having the people of Springfield ultimately decide the fate of the law.


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President Obama Participates in Reddit AMA Though Some were not Pleased…

As we close in on the 2012 presidential election, the candidates will try to utilize every way to connect with the people.  We are in the middle of the convention season as Mitt Romney concluded the Republican National Convention by making his speech and officially accepting the nomination.  On Tuesday the Democratic National Convention will get under way.  In the midst of high profile coverage it may be a surprise that the President decided to pursue a very new way of connecting with voters.  On Wednesday President Obama participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) where he encouraged voters to submit questions.  The president has also taken part in other online forums aimed at connecting with voters.  While we cannot say they have not been effective, he has dodged the issue of marijuana reform and the war on drugs now several times.  Yesterday many were upset that the president seemingly ignored the growing calls for marijuana reform.  However, we at would like to applaud him for taking part, even if his answers were not ideal.  The president seems to be more in tune with the growing online culture than other current and previous candidates.  While he may be avoiding the conversation to some extent, it is a unique situation that a president would directly converse with voters.  However, in the future a free pass may not be granted if he partakes in another online forum encouraging  questions on everything but simply handpicking his answers.


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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 24, 2012

case dismissed

Court Ruling Could Reverse Dispensary Bans in California…

The Los Angeles City Council has come under much scrutiny after its controversial decision to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries.  Many even wondered if they had the legal authority to even enact such a law with a decision by California’s 2nd District of Appeals stating that dispensaries could not banned.  The city decided to move forward with the ban even though it was clear they would have to spend considerable tax dollars defending their ill advised legal decision.  A lawsuit has already been filed by the “Patient Care Alliance” challenging the ban.  Additionally, Americans For Safe Access have been in the process of collecting the necessary signatures to get a ballot initiative off the ground that would present residents with a chance to overturn the ban themselves.  The lawsuit and the ballot initiative may not even be necessary in the end as we recently learned that the court case Pack V. Long Beach was thrown out by the California Supreme Court.  Previously, the decision in Pack V. Long Beach ruled that marijuana dispensaries could be banned on the basis that medical marijuana is not permitted by federal law.  As a result, municipalities such as L.A. and Long Beach used the decision to ban dispensaries.  The state supreme court ruled that since the municipalities have abandoned their federal argument in the recent bans, then everything pertaining to Pack V. Long Beach has been invalidated.  Joe Elford of Americans for Safe Access applauded the decision and said “The California Supreme Court has essentially pulled out the rug from under local officials who have used the Pack decision to deny access to medical marijuana for thousands of patients across the state.”


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NAACP Backs Marijuana Legalization Effort In Colorado…

A group familiar with social struggles announced its support for Amendment 64 and Colorado’s marijuana legalization efforts.  The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was formed in 1909 setting out on a mission “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”  The oldest civil rights organization is now seeking passage of Amendment 64.  However, their support is not entirely linked to the right to smoke marijuana itself as the group is also very much concerned with the disproportionate numbers of African Americans being jailed for cannabis related convictions.  Rosemarie Harris Lytle, president of the NAACP’s Colorado branch said “Marijuana prohibition policy does more harm to our communities than good.  “That is why we have endorsed Amendment 64 which presents a more effective and socially responsible approach to how Colorado addresses the adult use of marijuana.”  Arrests numbers by race are discouraging across the country but Colorado seems to have an even greater racial disparity in marijuana arrests than other areas of the country.  In Colorado, African Americans make up 4% of population but make up 9% of marijuana possession arrests and 22% of sale and cultivation charges.  In Denver the numbers are even more alarming as 11% of Denver’s population is African American even as they represent 31.5% of marijuana possession arrests.


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Medical Marijuana Makes Arkansas Ballot for November Election…

Activists in Arkansas faced a major setback when they were unable to deliver enough votes to get medical marijuana to the ballot earlier this summer.  However, a renewed effort has been successful with 74,406 signatures being submitted this time.  The number is higher than the 62,507 needed.  However ballot initiatives often see a significant number of signatures disqualified.  This was not the case in Arkansas as the Arkansas Secretary of State said earlier this week that “Our office verified over 69,000 signatures for Arkansans for Compassionate Care. They will be certified to the ballot.”  If residents approve the measure Arkansas will join the 17 other states (and Washington D.C.) that permit medical marijuana.  They would, however, become the first southern state to start a medical marijuana program.


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Patient Care Alliance To Sue Los Angeles Over Dispensary Ban


It did not take long for activists to fight back against the recent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries by the City of Los Angeles.  The Los Angeles City Council made a very controversial decision to ban all of its medical marijuana collectives.  A decision so controversial, it may even be illegal when considering the recent ruling of California’s 2nd District of Appeals Court which said cities do not have the right to ban marijuana dispensaries.

Many analysts wondered exactly why the city when forward with the ban as many lawsuits were expected, especially as it seems activists have the upper hand legally. mentioned yesterday that letters were sent to marijuana dispensaries informing them that they have until September 6th to shut down, or face a fine of $2,500 per everyday they remain open.  We now have learned that the September 6th forced closure date may be in jeopardy.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the trade group named “Patient Care Alliance”, which represents 300 area dispensaries has filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles over the upcoming dispensary closures.  Marc O’Hara who is in charge of the group called the ban “heartless”.  The city of Los Angeles is also likely to have another legal headache as GLACA (The Greater Los Angeles Collectives Alliance) and ASA (Americans for Safe Access) are working on a ballot initiative to overturn the ban.  They have already began to collect signatures and if they are successful residents of Los Angeles may vote to repeal the ban.

Critics of the ban are concerned that patients will no longer have access to safe medicine and may even have to turn to illegal methods of obtaining cannabis.  The City Council claims that patients have not been left out in the cold because they are still allowed to grow their own cannabis and distribute it within groups of three.  This proposal seems unenforceable (how exactly will law enforcement prove patients are operating within their groups?) and seems to carry the potential for organized crime to regain their stronghold on the Los Angeles marijuana market.  However, growing quality and safe marijuana that is free of pesticides, mold, and other harmful agents can take years of practice, something many patients are unable to do.  Additionally there is considerable cost associated with starting a grow operation from scratch.  The need for safe access to medication is important, especially for a city that has had legalized medical marijuana for 16 years.  Check back with us soon as well will keep an eye on any new developments pertaining to the September 6th closures.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 17, 2012

dispensary closure

Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensaries Ordered To Close on Sept 6…

Several weeks ago the Los Angeles City Council decided to issue an order to ban all marijuana dispensaries within city limits.  The move has caused a fair amount of commotion and legal experts do not even know for sure if they city is operating within their rights.  A recent decision by California’s second District of Appeals ruled that local municipalities cannot outlaw marijuana dispensaries.  Earlier in the week, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office sent out 1,000 letters to buildings they believe are dispensaries informing them that they need to close their doors or face possible fines of $2,500 per day fine after September 6th.  There is a considerable amount of legal confusion in the air.  Besides the 2nd district decision, there are also referendums in the works with activists collecting signatures.  This could also delay or eliminate the city’s ban.  Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access said “We don’t have a clear-cut response for them on what’s going on.  It would be imprudent to tell them to stay open. But at the same time, there is all this other activity going on that could change the situation in a matter of weeks.”


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Colorado Legalization Initiative Could Mean Big Bucks for State…

Earlier in the week ran a story that described how much money could be made in the state of Washington should residents vote to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis.  Colorado has also released a report that shows how much money could be generated if their similar law, amendment 64 is passed.  A report released by The Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) indicated that in the first year alone legalizing cannabis could generate $60 million in its first year and rise to $120 million by 2017.  Of the $120 million $80 million would go toward alleviating financial burdens of local and state government with the remaining $40 million being directed to a fund that would construct new schools.  Showing its potential for job creation the program would create 350 new construction jobs.  This is independent of the jobs created for medical personnel, dispensary workers, security companies and several other industries.


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New Jersey Off to Slow Start in Registering Patients…

Matching the snail’s pace of the launching the entire medical marijuana program in New Jersey, only 50 patients so far have been approved to be legal cannabis patients in the Garden State.  The good news is that the program is moving forward after almost no action for two years after it was approved by exiting former Governor Jim Corzine.  So far state lawmakers have delayed the program for as long as they can and the small patient registration numbers come as no surprise.  The point of the program is to prevent patients from having to secure their medication from illegal sources.  So far the program is doing the opposite.   Chris Goldstein, a spokesperson for The Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey said “Patients meanwhile are going on the underground market.  “It’s not like they’re not accessing medicine out there.”  New Jersey aimed to be a state with strict guidelines but has been outpaced by other known strict medical marijuana states such as Arizona.  However, there is reason to believe that patient registration will pick up as every aspect of the program has been hastened by the threat of lawsuits.  Expect more of the same as advocates will surely pursue the legal route if patients are not being accepted into the program.

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LA Councilman Shows Marijuana Appeal Growing

bill rosendahl


The move to ban dispensaries in the City of Los Angeles devastated patients and advocates not only in the area, but across the nation.  Los Angeles has become the epicenter for the medical marijuana movement with sick patients moving their so they can pursue relief.  While this move stings, it is not even clear if it will stick.  The move by the Los Angeles City Council directly contradict a ruling by California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals, which stated weeks ago that municipalities do not have the right to ban marijuana dispensaries.

With that being said, we would like to look farther ahead than the day to day politics of marijuana, which in a frenzied election season are sure to change daily.  Last week posted a story that shows just how far the perception of marijuana has evolved.  Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl announced to the L.A. Times that he has been a medical marijuana patient himself for over ten years.  The councilman said he medicates with cannabis to help alleviate symptoms related to neuropathy.  Last week he revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer, explaining his absence from City Hall meetings and perhaps another reason he will medicate with cannabis.  Mr. Rosendahl said he would have had a tough time without medical cannabis and the neuropathy makes his feet “red hot with pain.”  Many politicians have admitted to previous marijuana use but usually chalk it up misguided decisions made in their youth.  Few elected officials admit to currently smoking marijuana.

President Bill Clinton famously admitted to smoking marijuana, but he carefully tiptoed the political line and said he did not inhale.  Under his administration many federal raids of marijuana dispensaries were carried out.  Our current president, Barack Obama, admitted to frequent marijuana use in his earlier years only to now direct his agents toward the largest crackdown in medical marijuana’s 16 years.  Although Bill Rosendahl is not the president, he may represent the next phase of balancing marijuana and politics.  Is it crazy to think that one day a sitting president of the United States will also hold a medical marijuana card?

That day may yet be a ways off but Bill Rosendahl is showing that America is ready for the truth.  With approximately 75% of the nation supporting a doctor’s right to prescribe cannabis, the game has changed.  The future looks bright and we were glad to see that people came out in support of Mr. Rosendahl.  His admission lets patients know they are not on their own, and that one of their own represents them.  We at look forward to Bill Rosendahl’s return to the Los Angeles City Council, and his continued pursuit of providing compassion and relief.

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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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Marijuana Advocate and L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl is Receiving Treatment for Cancer


Last week the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban marijuana dispensaries.  As they say, “You’ll never understand a person until you walk a mile in their shoes.”  Cannabis patients are judged harshly by our elected officials.  Perspective often changes when a problem hits home.

Earlier in the week, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl announced to the Los Angeles Times that he has been a medical marijuana patient himself for over ten years.  The councilman said he medicates with cannabis to help alleviate symptoms related to neuropathy.  Mr. Rosendahl said the neuropathy makes his feet “red hot with pain.”  Yesterday we found out that he may have another reason to continue medicating with cannabis.  In a letter titled “I’m Going To Beat This,” the councilman revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer in his pelvic area.  In the letter he said “My doctors feel there is abundant reason for optimism.  The cancer is slow moving, has not spread to any vital organs and does not affect my digestive system.” He then went on to say “I am going to beat this cancer and return to work soon. I am going to seek, win and complete a third term.”

The popular city councilman has been a longtime supporter of legalizing marijuana nationwide.  He recently told the LA Times that “it’s been clear for 20 to 30 years where I stand on this issue.  I think the war on drugs is destroying this great nation.”  Councilman Rosendahl was unable to to attend last week’s City Council session where marijuana dispensaries were outlawed by a vote of 14-0.  The councilman who did attend apparently did not share Mr. Rosendahl’s sentiments on failed marijuana laws.  Taking away dispensaries could seriously jeopardize the ability for patient’s health and may lead to increases in illegal street sales.

With his recent admission, it may force the rest of the council members to acknowledge a marijuana patient up close and personal.  Before the planned dispensary ban even begins fellow council members will witness the impact of their decision firsthand.  They will have to look their colleague and peer in the eye and state exactly why they are against safe access.   This seems significantly more difficult than occasionally hearing patient stories at public meetings in City Hall.  We at are hoping for Bill Rosendahl to make a speedy recovery.  Patients desperately need his compassion and leadership and we eagerly await his return to the City Council.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News July 27, 2012

green cross_fullActivists Vow to Fight Back Against Los Angeles Dispensary Ban… The decision by the Los Angeles City Council to ban marijuana dispensaries shocked many throughout the nation.  Safe patient access has been now become an even greater concern.  Patients are concerned that they will have to resort to illegal means of obtaining marijuana.  It appears …continue reading

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Los Angeles City Council Unanimously Approves Dispensary Ban

los angles banYesterday afternoon patients were dealt what could be a devastating blow.  The Los Angeles City Council decided to approve a measure to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits.  Since the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, lawmakers have done little to refine and adjust the program.  Now they feel problems related to …continue reading

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