Los Angeles Council Creates More Hardships with Denials

cannabis_sativaThe Los Angeles City Council has a medical cannabis mess on its hands and continues to make things worse. Widespread inaction, bad press, and hasty moves surrounding the Golden State’s number one cash crop have council members flustered and community members, on both sides of the issue, outraged.

One of the biggest controversies surrounds the 800+ hardship applications and the Council’s blanket denial of the first 48. In September 2007, the City Council enacted a two-year moratorium, or temporary ban, on new medical cannabis storefront locations. No new locations were supposed to open while the city worked towards drafting medical cannabis regulations.

Two things happened. The city dragged its feet on regulations, despite having medical cannabis activists helping draft regulations similar to Los Angeles County’s, which were denied by the council. And 800+ locations opened or moved under a hardship loophole in the Interim Control Ordinance, which the Council enacted until permanent could be adopted.

Technically, the city never authorized any of hardship applicants to open for business and they have done so illegally. Some of the hardship applications come from locations that opened and operated before the moratorium but that had to move because their landlords received property-forfeiture letters from the Drug Enforcement Administration threatening to seize all of the landlord’s property if they did not evict the medical cannabis tenants.

Other locations filled hardship applications and opened, stating they did not open prior to the moratorium because of federal intimidation and interference in California’s medical cannabis laws. Many applicants claim Bush’s war on medical cannabis caused them so much fear and Obama’s campaign promises to end federal resources to circumvent state law caused so much hope they opened after the temporary ban was enacted.

Based on the City’s track record from the last few weeks, it looks as if they plan to deny all hardship applications, even the applications from storefronts that were forced to move as a result of the DEA-landlord letters. By doing so the city is creating more hardship for more than just storefront owners.

The City will cause hardships for medical cannabis patients. With fewer locations, prices will go up, patients will have to travel farther, and neighborhoods surrounding remaining locations will be congested with more patients. With so many current medical cannabis locations, many patients can walk to a nearby storefront which is not only good for them but it is good for the environment too.

These storefronts employ workers. These workers will be out of work in the toughest economic period since the Great Depression and may become more of a burden to the overburdened city, state, and nation. There will be more unemployed workers to add to the record number of unemployed.

Some of these medical cannabis storefronts hire private security services. If the City denies all the hardship locations, there will be even more unemployed people in one of the largest cities in the world. These security guards, like medical cannabis employees, have families and financial obligations that will experience severe economic hardships.

If the city shuts down these locations the landlords will be without tenants in this downward market. Without tenants, these locations may remain vacant and may drive down the value of the overall property and surrounding area.

Most of these locations also advertise. If forced to close, the advertising revues that these locations generate will be lost by publications and online sites that rely on these ad sales. Places that accept these advertisements will suffer as well.

As if those hardships are not enough, the Los Angeles and California will be losing sales tax, income tax, and other indirect city revenue from these locations. Each transaction at these medical cannabis locations generates sales tax. That money gets distributed through the city and state. Employees pay income taxes, which also benefit Los Angeles and California as a whole.

LA’s City Council should find a way to minimize the hardship for local patients, employees, landlords, security companies, advertisement companies, and the city in general.

Cheryl Aichele

LA Progressive

Comments

  1. Mino says

    Hey Cheryl, don’t waste your breath on Scott, he has no idea.

    Im a patient/ collective owner…just wanted to say thank you for you all your support and hard work.

  2. Cheryl says

    Scott,

    You claim that all the hardship applicants have “overly exaggerated hardship claims”. Where is your proof?

    Then you go on to claim you know the “real intent” of the hardship applicants and that all of them want de facto legalization. Again, where is your proof? It seems like your are jumping to conclusion and making things up or making “overly exaggerated” generalization.

    NOT all medical cannabis supporters support the legalization of cannabis for adult-responsible use. My proof: Americans for Safe Access the largest medical cannabis non-profit organization in the nation (world). They focus strictly on medical cannabis.

    Then you mention the “illegal trafficking” of marijuana and the death, damage and loss related the the Mexican drug trade. The so-called “badly written law” that you speak of specifically states that medical cannabis dispensed in collectives has to come from medical cannabis in the collective, so none of that cannabis has anything to do with the illegal market or the cannabis grown in forests by illegal immigrants.

    You say: “In short, Medical Marijuana Dispensaries don’t have, and never had, the right to open, therefore no hardships existed (now or ever) simply because the formation of MMDs was not the intent of Prop 215 or SB 420.”

    However, according the California Attorney General (the highest legal office in CA) “Guidelines for the Security and Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use” on page11 “it is opinion of this Office that a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law”

    http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/press/pdfs/n1601_medicalmarijuanaguidelines.pdf

    Please explain to me what qualifies you more than the Attorney General of California to make the statements you made.

    I would encourage a more mindful look at the complete picture surrounding this medical cannabis issue and stop jumping to conclusion and trying to insult me your backhanded nonsense to further your own agenda.

    Those white papers are not a more in depth analysis, they are a biased view from law enforcement and many of what is said can be discredited.

    Lastly, I’d like to point out the fact that many seriously ill or injured medical cannabis patients cannot grow their own medicine and rely on those who can to do so.

  3. says

    Unfortunately, this very peripheral argument has no basis in law and does not adequately address the stumblings of state and local government responsible not only for the overly exaggerated hardship claims whose real intent is to create an environment of de facto legalization of marijuana for recreational use, it also does not speak to the loss of life and damage to property as a result of the illegal trafficking in marijuana by the criminal element setting up shop under the protection of badly written legislation.

    In short, Medical Marijuana Dispensaries don’t have, and never had, the right to open, therefore no hardships existed (now or ever) simply because the formation of MMDs was not the intent of Prop 215 or SB 420.

    I would encourage a more mindful look at the complete picture surrounding this issue rather than hanging one’s hat upon flimsy arguments that serve a more personal agenda. A more in-depth analysis can be found at http://www.fixlosangeles.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=66&tmpl=component&format=raw&Itemid=66&lang=en

    Lastly, I would also point out that current legislation and the current federal DEA policy of ‘looking the other way’ allows individuals to grow marijuana themselves.

    -Scott

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