Medical Marijuana Update

California dispensaries continue their vanishing act, thanks to feds and local officials, but Arizona fends off a challenge, Oregon adds PTSD, and frustrated New Jersey patients rally. Let's get to it:


Last Friday, an effort to repeal the state's medical marijuana law died for lack of interest. Rep. John Kavanaugh (R-Fountain Hills) had sponsored a bill that would have done just that, but couldn't get enough support from fellow lawmakers to move the bill.


Last Tuesday, the Berkeley city council voted to close the Greenleaf Wellness Group dispensary. The council acted after complaints that it blighted a Dwight Way neighborhood with trash, urine and the smell of weed wafting over children's heads. The council's vote also upheld a finding that Greenleaf was violating city law by operating out of building zoned commercial when city ordinance requires dispensaries to be operated only in residential buildings. The vote to shut down Greenleaf was 8-1.

Last Wednesday, the Bakersfield city council got an earful from medical marijuana proponents at the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would ban dispensaries in the city. Supporters pleaded fervently for the council not to proceed with the proposed ordinance. Twenty-four people submitted cards to the city clerk to speak against the ordinance; only one spoke in favor of it. The issue returns for a final vote at the June 26 meeting, and if approved could become law within 30 day.

Last Friday, one of the last dispensaries in Riverside closed its doors. The Riverside County Patients Association had refused until then to comply with a temporary restraining order to shut down. Only when dispensary operators were given the choice of closing or being arrested on the spot did they comply. That means there are likely only two dispensaries left in the city, according to city officials. There were 77 when Riverside passed an ordinance to ban them in 2009. Next week, the city council will consider an urgency ordinance banning mobile dispensaries.

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors sent threat letters to 103 Los Angeles area dispensaries. The targeted facilities are in Echo Park, Westlake, south Los Angeles, the harbor area, Long Beach, Lancaster, and Pearlblossom. The targeted 71 dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles involved all remaining known shops in the LAPD's Rampart, Newton and Harbor divisions. The letters tell the dispensaries to shut down or face asset forfeiture proceedings.

New Jersey

Last Friday, patients, families, and supporters rallied in Trenton to protest the state's failure to implement its medical marijuana program in a meaningful way. They said the current system is restrictive and expensive, and complained that there is still only one dispensary in the state more than three years after the state medical marijuana law took effect in 2010. They hope to push lawmakers into reforming regulations, including making it easier for children to be approved and including PTSD on the list of approved ailments.


Last Friday, Oregon's governor signed a bill adding PTSD to the list of approved conditions for medical marijuana use. The law will go into effect January 1, 2014.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit]

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  "...Oregon's governor


"...Oregon's governor signed a bill adding PTSD to the list of approved conditions for medical marijuana use.  He's a doctor. Why is it so many doctors prescribe/recommend marijuana for various illness if it's not a medicine?  Are they all just recommending it so people can get "high"?  

When will all of the foolishness end?

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