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Medical Marijuana Update

Los Angeles dispensaries got a reprieve last week -- or did they? The busts there continue, despite the ban on the ban. And there's more news from around the state and the country as well. Let's get to it:

National

Americans for Safe Access is calling for demonstrations in support of medical marijuana access
in front of local Obama campaign headquarters across the country on September 20. The move comes in the face of federal crackdowns and seeks to remind President Obama of the campaign promises he made to the community in 2008.

Arkansas

Last Friday, opponents of the medical marijuana initiative filed suit to block it. The conservative Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values filed the lawsuit in the state Supreme Court. The suit argues that the measure's ballot title, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, is misleading and that the act itself is hard to understand. Arkansas initiative experts said the lawsuit didn't have much chance of succeeding.

California

Last Wednesday, Harborside's San Jose landlord sought a court order to shut it down. Concourse Business Center asked a district court to order the state's largest dispensary to quit growing, possessing, and selling marijuana on its property. The move comes after federal prosecutors sent a threat letter to Concourse, as well as to Harborside and its other landlords. Concourse said it had given Harborside 30 days notice to vacate, that negotiations had taken place to no avail, and that Harborside continued to conduct business there.

Also last Wednesday, the GDP Collective in Richmond announced it had reopened. The dispensary was shut down by the city of Richmond when it purged all dispensaries in 2010. But the city council has since changed its mind and decided earlier this year to permit and tax up to six dispensaries. Another one, Green Remedy, has already opened.

Last Thursday, the ban on LA dispensaries was halted before it went into effect. The ban was blocked after advocates of repeal handed in enough signatures to put the issue to the voters. The ban on the ban will remain in effect until the voters decide. Or the city council could decide within 30 days to repeal the ban. 

Also last Thursday, LAPD announced it had raided The Loft Co-op in Woodland Hills. They seized $1,000 in cash and 10 pounds of marijuana and arrested two employees for possession for sales of marijuana. Police said that despite its name, it was acting as an illegal dispensary, not a co-op.

On Monday, San Diego's only licensed dispensary announced it was closing. The Mother Earth Alternative Healing Co-operative is closing after receiving a threat letter from US Attorney Laura Duffy. The closure of Mother Earth means there are no licensed medical marijuana facilities in the county. That leaves an estimated 70,000 patients without a regulated supplier.

On Tuesday, LA city councilman Jose Huizar said the city would continue to bust dispensaries even though the council's ban set to go into effect Friday is now on hold. He said any sales are illegal under state law, and the city would enforce that law.

Oregon

Last Thursday, Lane County police raided the Kannabosm dispensary in Eugene and several related properties. The owner, Curtis Dean Shimmin, faces felony charges around illegal marijuana sales and money laundering, police said. Police seized 105 plants and pounds of marijuana in what Shimmin said was "a clearly illegal" raid.

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Let it grow

I remember thinking when California first voted for medical marijuana that it would be another 20 years before it came to Arkansas. When those dominoes start falling they pick up momentum it seems. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it passes on the first try. "What a long strange trip it's been"

Obama didn't promise anything

He specifically said that he has too much work to do to focus on marijuana.  Although he supports medical marijuana, he did not intend on making that a priority as his priorities were to pass health care reform and a stance on legalizing marijuana would have been political suicide.  Can you imagine how the republicans would have spun that?  The truth is that a lot is funded by the illegal trade and that funding can lead to weapon purchases, crime and even terrorist activity, which is why it should be legal.  He never issued any decree but I believe in his next term, he may have to wait until his final years in office before he pushes any medical marijuana reform to avoid impeachment.  Republicans have it out for him.  He will not end prohibition however, that he will not do.  There is a consensus among policy makers that prohibition is in its final days.  The people have spoken.  Too bad stoners are not a large enough voting block.  Young people, not necessarily pot heads, voted for Legalization in Colorado and Washington not because they toke, but because they agree that this is a failed policy.  Plus, breaking the law may lead to some stoners being ineligible to vote.

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