Tag: California

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LA County May Lift Ban on Marijuana Shops

Los Angeles County and marijuana businesses have had a complicated relationship.

Though areas like Beverly Hills, Marina del Rey, and Willowbrook have banned marijuana storefronts since 2011, the businesses still maintain a strong presence in the county. As the retail marijuana revolution of 2018 inches closer, many of these municipalities and their local lawmakers are starting to come around on cannabis.

This week, the City of Angels will put a measure before voters that, if passed, would grant legal status to the existing 135 shops that currently inhabit a gray area within the law, and possibly even call for additional shops to be approved.

For now, the LA Board of Supervisors will extend the ban on marijuana businesses, which was previously scheduled to lapse in June. The ban’s scope has been broadened to include recreational marijuana producers and retailers. Proposed by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the ban will allow more time for Los Angeles County to explore the possible benefits or pitfalls of granting the businesses legal status. The extended prohibition would immediately be lifted should the legalization proposal, drafted by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl, be approved by voters.

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“We support moving from a ban to permitting and regulating the use,” Kuehl’s Spokeswoman Barbara Osborn explained via email to LA Weekly. “That’s part of what today’s motion should get us closer to.”

Hahn and Kuehl’s proposed bill would “allow, license, and appropriately regulate and enforce the cultivation, transportation, distribution, processing, manufacturing, testing, retail sale, and delivery of medical and commercial (recreational) cannabis in unincorporated county areas.” An Office of Marijuana Management would be created to regulate the county’s retail cannabis industry, according to the proposal, while an additional county tax on marijuana products would be implemented to cover regulatory expenditures.

According to Barger’s Planning and Public Works Deputy Edel Vizcarra, the elongated prohibition shouldn’t be viewed as a negative, but rather a necessary move to work toward the legalization bill brought forth by the Hahn and Kuehl. When asked if the two proposals were meant to work in harmony to advance a common goal, Vizcarra replied, “That was the intent.”

“This is a pioneering time for California and for the county,” said Supervisor Kuehl in a statement on the two legal measures. “We have an opportunity to take advantage of recent experiences in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado and adopt a regulatory system that will ensure the well-being of county residents as well as contribute to the growing expertise in dealing with the legalization of cannabis.”

Cover Image Courtesy of Allie Beckett

 

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Marijuana Dispensaries: Can You Get High Where You Buy Your Supply?

The 2016 General Election has thankfully come and gone, and legalization won Big Time! From the nation’s capital to the land of the Midnight Sun, recreational consumers and patients alike are more than a little curious …  can they puff, puff, pass, where legal marijuana is sold? Unlike the alcohol industry, where partygoers can publicly […]

 

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Panel of District Attorneys Selected to Advise Trump on Marijuana

The National District Attorney’s Association has announced the formation of an advisory group who will make recommendations to the Trump administration on cannabis law and policy. While not everyone on the panel is pro-pot, we now know a couple of the District Attorneys are in favor of at least exploring the possibilities of regulation. Boulder, Colorado DA Stan Garnett was selected to the panel, making him the only active member from our nation’s first fully legalized state. While the rest of the panel has not been publicly named yet, Garnett said there are members from fellow recreational states like California and Oregon.

“It’s a reflection of the NDAA’s interest in having a fairly balanced committee, which will be largely advising on what our policy position should be in communications with the Trump Justice Department,” Garnett explained to the Boulder Daily Camera.

According to Garnett, the NDAA has traditionally taken a conservative stance on issues like marijuana, so he felt it was important to lend his viewpoint to the discussion.

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Boulder DA Stan Garnett

“I always end up on the more liberal position than anyone else, particularly on marijuana,” Garnett said. “I think one of the things that happens is that many of the people in states where there is no legalization have a complete misunderstanding of states like Colorado. If nothing else, I’m able to say, ‘Wait a minute, this is a huge business in Colorado, it is largely supported by the editorial boards, polls show it was being very popular, and by and large we have not seen an impact on crime rates.

“For somebody from Missouri or South Carolina to tell Colorado how to handle an issue of its own choice like legalization of marijuana is not only bad policy, but it fails to respect the importance of local control and state rights.”

According to Tom Raynes, Executive Director of the Colorado District Attorney’s Council, the NDAA policy group was formed about 10 days ago, and despite wide-ranging opinions on legalization, all 14 members do have collective goals that everyone can agree on. The group as a whole aim to tackle stoned driving, eliminate the remaining black market, and keep weed out of the hands of children.

“There’s such a myriad of approaches depending on what stage of legalization you are in. To come up with some sort of nationwide discussion on what works and what doesn’t work makes a lot of sense,” said Raynes.

“Those are things that every state can agree on, and they need to start getting to the difficult issues.”
As far as who the NDAA group will be communicating with in Washington, they should know sometime this week. They will likely offer their policy recommendations to the United States Attorney General, our nation’s top prosecutor. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, a controversial figure in the marijuana community, is likely to be confirmed as Attorney General. After heated confirmation hearings earlier this month, the Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the Sessions appointment this morning. Should Sessions receive an affirmative vote from the committee, the Senate would likely vote on the matter before the end of the week.

“Assuming he gets confirmed, he would definitely be the recipient of whatever we come up with,” Garnett stated. “At the moment nobody really knows what approach the Trump justice department will take, so that will determine how long the group meets.”

Sessions has been a vocal opponent of ending cannabis prohibition, even going as far as saying at one point that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” For his part, President Trump has been on the record as saying he doesn’t want to end federal marijuana prohibition but would be open to allowing states to handle it on a case-by-case basis.

“Legalization has been largely successful everywhere it has been tried, so it would be a highly unpopular move and difficult to accomplish successfully,” Garnett said. “But I don’t know what to expect on the Trump administration on this issue.”

Cover Image Courtesy of Allie Beckett

 

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