December 22, 2011

Governments Drag Feet On Medical Marijuana, Activists Draft Own Rules

December 22, 2011
Wheelchair man busted marijuana

Wheelchair Police BrutalityThe ‘delay tactic’ has been a favorite of the anti-medical marijuana establishment since the beginning.

Medical marijuana has been a people’s movement since the very start. California Proposition 215 in 1996 was a voter initiated, voter approved piece of legislation that created the first medical marijuana state in the nation. My home state of Oregon was soon to follow when voters approved Measure 67 (the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act) in 1998. So it makes sense that comprehensive medical marijuana distribution regulations would also be created by the people, not elected officials. Otherwise, local, state, and federal lawmakers will drag their feet for the rest of eternity.

Medical marijuana collectives in San Diego unveiled a plan earlier this week that proposes a ballot initiative that would regulate storefront medical marijuana outlets and generate local tax revenue. The medical marijuana initiative, created by Citizens for Patient Rights and the Patient Care Association, calls for a 2.5 percent sales tax on all medical marijuana sales. The initiative also establishes zoning requirements (at least 600 feet from schools, playgrounds and other areas where children gather), security requirements, hours of operation (7 a.m. to midnight), places a fee to recover any city expenses, and requires third-party certification.

“After waiting several years for the city of San Diego to enact a reasonable ordinance to allow safe access, unfortunately the city failed to do that,” said Jessica McElfresh, an attorney who worked with the Patient Care Association to draft the proposal. “We feel that we have to move forward with the initiative process, although we do intend to make another overture to City Council to try to persuade them to pass this as a reasonable ordinance.” McElfresh also said, “The city attorney’s office is driving qualified patients into the black market, making it difficult for them to have safe access and that’s what we hope this law will remedy,”

“What people told us routinely is they want dispensaries to have to obey operational requirements. We have done that,” she said. “We have also heard routinely that they want dispensaries to be located reasonable distances from residences and areas where children congregate. Done.”

As always, there’s someone clinging to the ‘it’s illegal under federal law’ argument. I guarantee these are the same ‘conservatives’ that are complaining about too much federal intervention in every other area of society. “I can say we would certainly discourage San Diegans from signing their names for an ordinance that is moot before it is enacted because it violates federal law,” Chairman of San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods Scott Chipman said. “And we are going to continue to encourage federal agencies to enforce federal law in San Diego.” Supporters of the initiative have six months to gather 62,057 valid signatures to qualify the for the November 2012 ballot.

What are conservatives afraid of? Are they afraid that once medical marijuana is properly regulated that everyone will see that the sky hasn’t fallen? Are they afraid that governments will see the enormous tax revenue generated, and medical marijuana can help fix this economic crisis we are in? Are they afraid that medical marijuana will become a legit industry that is so huge that it creates more jobs than anyone could imagine? Because that’s what would happen if medical marijuana became accepted and properly regulated, not just in the 16 states that currently allow it, but nationwide. What conservatives are really afraid of is what are they going to use to scare people once the war on medical marijuana (and the war on drugs altogether) is over?

If the government and elected officials want to drag their feet on medical marijuana distribution reform, then the people need to stand up. If your state doesn’t have a medical marijuana program, keep uniting and fighting for the issue because there are no doubt countless people that can use it. If you do have medical marijuana in your state, demand that the system creates a regulated, safe way to access medicine so that those that need it most can access it easiest!


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