Hazy Marijuana Laws

Apr 5, 2012

Richard Lee has been one of the state’s most vis­i­ble activists for lib­er­al­ized mar­i­juana laws, hav­ing spent $1.5 mil­lion of his own money sup­port­ing an ill-fated bal­lot ini­tia­tive in 2010 to decrim­i­nal­ize recre­ational use. But Lee is also an entre­pre­neur in the legally cloudy arena of med­ical mar­i­juana, and on Mon­day the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice and the Drug Enforce­ment Admin­is­tra­tion raided his home and his hemp-related ven­tures, includ­ing Oak­s­ter­dam Uni­ver­sity, a trade school focused on the mar­i­juana indus­try. The feds haven’t dis­closed what they were look­ing for, other than to say the raids grew out of a fed­eral crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion. Nev­er­the­less, Lee’s sup­port­ers com­plain that the Obama admin­is­tra­tion isn’t hon­or­ing its own pol­icy from 2009, when a top Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cial advised U.S. attor­neys not to go after “indi­vid­u­als whose actions are in clear and unam­bigu­ous com­pli­ance with exist­ing state laws pro­vid­ing for the med­ical use of mar­i­juana.” That pol­icy doesn’t seem to have much sway these days, con­sid­er­ing the recent crack­downs by fed­eral author­i­ties on med­ical mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries in Cal­i­for­nia and Col­orado. But even if it were still in effect, the vague­ness of state law and con­flict­ing judi­cial inter­pre­ta­tions make it well nigh impos­si­ble for any­one in Cal­i­for­nia to be in clear and unam­bigu­ous com­pli­ance. That’s because Propo­si­tion 215, the 1996 mea­sure that decrim­i­nal­ized the med­i­c­i­nal use of mar­i­juana, and SB 420, the 2003 law to clar­ify its pro­vi­sions, left far too many loose ends. Fore­most among these is the abil­ity of local gov­ern­ments to set their own, spe­cific poli­cies on med­ical mar­i­juana. Oak­land has been a leader in that effort, adopt­ing an ordi­nance reg­u­lat­ing and tax­ing med­ical marijuana-related ven­tures. But a recent Cal­i­for­nia appeals court rul­ing calls into ques­tion any city’s abil­ity to set restric­tions of any kind on dis­pen­saries. Another rul­ing held that dis­pen­saries had to grow all their mar­i­juana on site, but cities couldn’t ban them. There are also fun­da­men­tal ques­tions about whether dis­pen­saries can sell their wares, and if so, how much money they can make with­out vio­lat­ing SB 420′s ban on prof­it­ing from the sale or dis­tri­b­u­tion of mar­i­juana. State law­mak­ers appear to be wait­ing for the Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court to resolve the dis­agree­ments in the lower courts, which would clear away some of the haze. But regard­less of what the jus­tices decide, there will still be major issues to resolve. The Leg­is­la­ture should stop wait­ing and fill in the many blanks in med­ical mar­i­juana laws. That won’t resolve the basic con­flict between state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments regard­ing mar­i­juana, but at least it will clar­ify what the state’s pol­icy is. Source: Los Ange­les Times (CA) Pub­lished: April 5, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 Los Ange­les Times Con­tact: letters@​latimes.​com Web­site: http://​www​.latimes​.com/

a7fe7a75cdaPoint.jpg 150x114 Hazy Marijuana Laws

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Hazy Mar­i­juana Laws

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