The California Narcotic Officers Association (CNOA) is hosting a training luncheon on October 8 so that Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, and local law enforcement can school their colleagues how to close down medical cannabis collectives in the county.
Documents obtained by Americans for safe Access (ASA) indicate this is at least the second time the CNOA, a notoriously anti-medical cannabis lobby group, has hosted a training for law enforcement with an ominous goal – “The Eradication of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County.”
That CNOA is leading the charge to roll back safe access in southern California should come as no surprise – the organization is one of the oldest and most virulent opponents of medical cannabis in the state. What should raise eyebrows is the participation of the District Attorney, City Manager, and police officers from Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Alhambra. It seems eradicating safe access is a high priority for some very powerful people in law enforcement in Los Angeles County.
Why is the CNOA and local law enforcement so worried about medical cannabis right now? Maybe it is because the Obama Administration has signaled a willingness change federal medical cannabis policy, and local police are scrambling to fill a void left by the receding federal threat. It may also be because California courts have handed patients a series of victories, ruling that federal law does not preempt state law, police must return medicine, and patients’ collectives are legal.
Perhaps the most important reason why the CNOA and local law enforcement are rallying to close collectives is that the slow march towards regulating their operation is nearing an endgame in the City of Los Angeles. Newly-elected City Attorney Trutanich has taken the lead in obstructing progress there, joining his predecessor in consistently opposing any regulations that facilitate access for patients. Trutanich and other opponents of regulation are right to worry that regulations will legitimize collectives and ensure their longevity. This is exactly what has happened in dozens of cities and counties that have already adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis. What’s more, research by ASA proves that sensible regulations reduce crime and complaints around collectives.
These training luncheons are evidence of a cynical campaign by CNOA and law enforcement to interfere in the implementation of state law. It seems they are still fighting the battle they lost when California voters approved Proposition 215 thirteen years ago. Medical cannabis patients and supporters should call on law enforcement to end this culture of resistance and work with elected officials to adopt guidelines that protect legal patients and their communities.
ASA is inviting medical cannabis supporters to join us in a peaceful demonstration in front of the Quiet Canyon Restaurant on Thursday, October 8, to tell the CNOA and Los Angeles law enforcement that we want implementation, not eradication. Join us in front of the restaurant located at 910 Via San Clemente in Montebello (60 Freeway and N. Garfield Ave.) at 10:30 AM. Join the LA-ASA email list for updated information.