Drug Law

Pro-Pot Group to L.A. - Here's How to Regulate Medical Marijuana

| by ASA

Americans for Safe Access and the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance published a white paper entitled “Advancing Medical Cannabis Regulations in Los Angeles” today. The report discusses the legal basis for collectives and cooperatives, the need for and benefits of regulation, and recommendations for sensible polices in the city.

The timing of this report is significant. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is currently reviewing an as yet un-circulated draft ordinance prepared by city staff, and his report and recommendations will have a profound impact on the final regulations.

Medical cannabis patients and advocates rallied around Trutanich during his campaign earlier this year, in hopes his election would break the long impasse at City Hall. Former City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo blocked progress on regulations for almost two years, submitting two draft ordinances in response to a City Council motion that would have all but eliminated access in the city. Now advocates worry about comments made by Trutanich’s staff, which may indicate he is following in his predecessor’s footsteps. ASA and GLACA will make the new report a cornerstone of efforts to educate the City Attorney and his staff at this critical juncture.

Patients and advocates elsewhere may find the contents of the report useful as well. Cities and counties all over California are struggling with how to regulate safe access to medical cannabis – a process that can be long and sometimes controversial. Sacramento recently passed moratoria on new collectives and cooperatives, and Long Beach and San Diego may soon follow suit. These can be a positive steps if the temporary bans lead to sensible regulations, which are proven to reduce crime and complaints.

Since 1996, advocates and lawmakers have cobbled together a patchwork of strategies for community-based solutions under the constant threat of federal raids and prosecutions. But today, the path forward is more certain and less perilous than in the past. The federal threat is receding under the Obama Administration, and the important victories in court have settled the issue of federal preemption. With guidance from the California Attorney General, ASA and local advocates all over the state must now finish the hard work of implementation mandated by the voters in Proposition 215: “To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”

Read or download “Advancing Medical Cannabis Regulations in Los Angeles.”