L.A.’s Marijuana Problem (and the Solution)

medical_marijuanaOkay, so for the past week the Los Angeles City Council has been dealing with this issue of weed (i.e. pot, ganja, bud, mary jane, etc.).

At issue is whether or not they can legally allow dispensaries to accept cash contributions as long as they comply with state law.

I think the state law is very clear in that these dispensaries cannot sell marijuana over the counter; they can just be reimbursed for the cost of growing it.

For the record, city ordinance’s do not trump state law, unless that same city is responsible for the police department’s (the enforcers of said ordinance) budget. We call that checkmate.

The City Council and District Attorney are all up in arms, the media seems to be fascinated by all of this, and, at the end of the day, City Hall has become a circus act of gigantic proportions.

A vote was supposed to take place this week, but then they got high and pushed it back until next Tuesday. Okay, maybe they didn’t get high, but they pushed it back nevertheless, continuing this madness into another week.

Now, I don’t smoke weed. I much prefer a drink in hand than a joint. I’ve graduated from Boone’s Farms and St. Ide;s to a nice wine cooler to take the edge off. Sometimes I replace the wine cooler with something stronger if it was a particularly hard day, but that’s my personal preference. However, most of the people I know get high–and these aren’t parking lot kings and queens. That’s who they buy it from, but the people I know who get high are professional, working folks who like to get high at the end of a hard day. Like I said, not my personal preference but whatever. I used to knock it, but today, I don’t really care as much as long it’s not in my car or in my house.

Remember how back in the day we always said that once the government found a way to tax drugs, they’d become legalized? Well, we’re halfway there.

If Los Angeles was smart, they’d figure out how to take the gazillion dollars in weed and turn that into profit for a city whose budget is causing employee layoffs and furloughs. Why just stop at the city level? The state could use a little extra income to help with our $26 million budget deficit as well.

I have mixed feelings about the legalization of weed on any level. I grew up in the era of D.A.R.E. and “Just Say No.” Now all of a sudden it’s just say no to some drugs. What’s up with that? Plus, I feel if some dispensaries are allowed to sell weed, then what’s wrong with brothaman from fif floor selling it, too? Who’s to say his customers don’t suffer from glaucoma, HIV/AIDs, or what have you, and just don’t have medical insurance to get a doctor’s note for their weed? Sometimes, it’s just easier to just put five on it and call it a day.

What I do know is that I think our City Council looks ridiculous for even considering an ordinance that when you really get down to it, is illegal and just opens the flood gates for challenges on other ordinances. Now if the Council wants to pass a resolution saying that they feel very strongly about legally allowing dispensaries to accept cash contributions as long as they comply with state law, they can do that all day long. But making it a law, as much as I hate to agree with the City and District Attorneys–they just don’t have a legal leg to stand on. Despite what other cites have done, this is not West Hollywood or San Francisco, this is L.A. and I think we can all agree that there are much bigger issues that we need to be dealing with than who gets to sell weed.

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I don’t have a dog in the fight–I don’t smoke weed. But to the extent that I care, it’s that you can’t follow some laws and break others and we have more important business that our City Council should be focused on.

If they want to address the weed issue, they need to figure out how to tax it and use that money to save the jobs of the employees who are losing theirs because the City is broke.

Jasmyne Cannick

Reprinted with permission from JasmyneCannick.com

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