March 4, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Medipot Hijack Is Behind Federal Prosecutions:

The muscular young man with greasy hair, tattered clothing, and a menacing demeanor sauntered into a Los Angeles fast food emporium the other day, his breath reeking of liquor and his demands very frank.

“Give me some money,” he demanded of a customer waiting for a breakfast burrito.

“Not on your life, smelling the way you do,” replied his intended mark. “No way am I paying for you to buy more booze.”

“That’s not what I want,” the young man scoffed. “I need my medical marijuana.”

“You expect me to buy your weed?” the fast food customer replied, incredulous at the young man’s frankness.

“Look,” the younger man sneered in an aside to a woman standing one cash register over. “This guy don’t smoke no pot. Can you believe that?”

There, in a nutshell, was the reason for the federal prosecutions of alleged medical marijuana profiteers announced the other day by four United States attorneys in California.

At first glance, the prosecutions of large-scale medipot growers, some dispensary owners, and a few of their landlords appeared to flout the pledge President Obama made early in his term not to target medical marijuana users and caregivers who are following state laws, like the 1996 Proposition 215 which legalized medipot use in California for persons with a written doctor’s recommendation.

Doctors’ recommendations, however, have become easier and easier to obtain; they’re now sometimes available inside the very dispensaries that sell the pot which fulfills the alleged recommendation. The ease of obtaining a recommendation is not at all comparable to the process of getting a prescription for any legal, regulated drug. That’s one reason the California Medical Assn. has just called for legalizing and regulating all pot, either in the manner of alcohol or ordinary prescription drugs.

Some cities try to limit both the amounts of pot that users can legally own and sellers can legally stock. Others try regulating dispensary locations, while many cities and counties won’t allow them at all, noting that federal law still doesn’t permit medical use of marijuana, despite several academic studies and reams of anecdotal information about its benefits in coping with things like the side effects of cancer chemotherapy and other ailments like migraine headaches.

The result has been constant confusion about what is legal or illegal where medipot is concerned.

Into this morass stepped the four U.S. attorneys, the top federal prosecutors stationed in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego, with jurisdictions that cover virtually the entire state.

“The California Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) was intended to help seriously ill people,” said San Francisco prosecutor Melinda Haag. “But the law has been hijacked by profiteers motivated not by compassion but by money. We want to put to rest the notion that large marijuana businesses can shelter themselves under state law.”

Added Andre Birotte Jr., the Los Angeles U.S. attorney, “This is not what the California voters intended or authorized and it is illegal under federal law.” Federal laws always take precedence over conflicting state measures.

But there is no real conflict between state law and what Obama’s prosecutors have done. Said the official ballot argument in favor of Proposition 215, signed by two doctors and a registered nurse: “(this) will allow seriously ill and terminally ill patients to use marijuana if, and only if, they have the approval of a licensed physician.”

There was no mention there, nor is there any indication anywhere else, that most voters who accepted this argument had any intention of allowing legal use of marijuana by persons like the young man who demanded cash in that fast food place.

In fact, unlike prosecutors appointed by both ex-Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, the Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys are not targeting legitimate patients or relatively small growers who provide their medical marijuana.

And local officials who have tried with only limited success to regulate medipot dispensaries and get them to carry out the humanitarian spirit of the campaign for Proposition 215 applaud the new prosecutions.

“We’re gratified that (federal authorities) see what we see, which is what began as an opportunity to help seriously ill patients has evolved into storefront drug sales and trafficking,” Jane Usher, a special assistant Los Angeles city attorney, told a reporter.

The bottom line: Medical marijuana has indeed been hijacked, and if the new push against for-profit dispensaries and their operators can somehow clarify the status of medipot while still allowing access for the genuinely ill and cutting the confusion that’s reigned here for 15 years, it will make a positive contribution to California life.

in News
Related Posts

Santa Monica Teachers Begin Receiving COVID-19 Vaccinations Ahead of Campuses Reopening

March 2, 2021

March 2, 2021

SMMUSD partners with Providence St. John’s Health Center to vaccinate certain educators and staff By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica-Malibu Unified...

‘Safe Camping’ at the VA is Open To All Homeless Veterans

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

The “safe camping” program is geared toward getting homeless Veterans off the streets and provides a way to transition from homelessness to...

Santa Monica Police Warn of Thieves Targeting Seniors Near Palisades Park

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

Two elderly woman robbed along Ocean Avenue recently By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica police are investigating two thefts targeting senior...

Santa Monica’s Zero Emissions Delivery Zone Pilot Has Begun: Santa Monica Beat – March, 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica’s Zero Emissions Delivery Zone Pilot Has Begun * City...

Video: Closing Down Westside Oil Field?

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Officials are discussing closing a Westside oil field sitting on hundreds of acres of prime coastal land. Learn more in...

Pico Neighborhood Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Over 70 units of affordable housing come to area near Woodlawn Cemetery By Sam Catanzaro A 70-unit-plus affordable housing development...

Large Properties Drive-up Santa Monica Home Sales Amid Pandemic

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Annual report shows single-family home sales rising By Sam Catanzaro Interest in large properties with five-bedrooms or more helped drive-up...

Santa Monica Police Arrest Parolee for Setting Stolen Car on Fire

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Alex Omar Aguirre arrested by Santa Monica Police Department By Sam Catanzaro A Santa Monica resident this week watched as...

Video: Closing Streets to Allow for More Outdoor Dining?

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

A drunk driver recently crashed into a Santa Monica outdoor dining area, bringing attention to a proposal that would close...

Dozens of Santa Monica Restaurants to Participate in dineL.A.

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

First ‘spring’ season of culinary event to begin first week in March By Kerry Slater Dozens of Santa Monica restaurants...

Video: Free LA Metro Rides Could Begin Soon

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

LA Metro could begin offering fare-less rides as early as next year as part of a $300+ million program. Learn...

That New Car Smell: Keep it Fresh

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

If ladies can have a special relationship with a new pair of shoes, just imagine our connection with a brand...

Danny Trejo’s Tacos Coming to Santa Monica

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

Popular restaurant owned by legendary actor coming near Promenade By Kerry Slater Legendary actor Danny Trejo is bringing his popular...

Violent Crime Declining in Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – February, 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Violent Crime Declining in Santa Monica * Santa Monica Animal Shelter...