Medical Marijuana in LA: Make Your Voice Heard

images-1Every day you hear different stories about the fate of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in LA.:  From the city is banning them outright, to the courts upholding that dispensaries can operate in the absence of guidelines from the city council.  But one thing is for sure.  The dispensaries and access are under heavy attack.

I’ve written about it before, but basically, Trutanich, our new city attorney is on a rampage and has vowed to close them all down.  He seems to have backed off a bit (maybe someone in the city pointed out to him that medical marijuana is NOT against the law and is a smart thing to tax and bring sorely needed revenue to our city…)  Here’s how you can help:

Even though the majority of citizens support patients safe access to cannabis, the ordinance that is being proposed right now would pretty much end any access by patients, unless they worked in a non-profit collective, which is very difficult if you are fighting cancer or another difficult illness that cannabis eases.

This coming Monday, November 16th, there’s a hearing downtown with PLUM (Planning and Land Use Committee) and members of the city council to discuss and get input from the general public.  I urge you to attend if you care about this.

Even a simple phone call can make a big difference! Just call the committee members and say, “I am a medical cannabis supporter calling to ask the Councilmember to reject the draft medical cannabis ordinance prepared by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.”  Here’s a list of the council people who will be drafting this:

Ed Reyes-Chair (213)-473-7001
[email protected]

Dennis Zine (213)-473-7003
[email protected]

Jose Huizar (213)-473-7014
[email protected]

Tony Cardenas (213) -473-7006
[email protected]

Jan Perry (213)-473-7009
[email protected]

Greig Smith (213)-473-7012
[email protected]

If you really want to support it, show up Monday, November 16, to ask committee members in person to reject the ordinance, and adopt one that protects patients’ privacy and ensures that collectives can stay open. This is an important point in the process, because the draft ordinance may go to the full City Council for approval after this committee hearing.

What:  Joint PLUM and Public Safety Committee meeting

When:  9:30 AM * Monday, November 16

Where:  Room 350, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Public Transit Info:  http://www.mta.net/riding_metro/default.htm

Arrive early to complete a public speaker’s card if you want to talk with the joint committee on Monday. You may have as little as one minute to speak. Keep your comments brief and on topic!

You can download a copy of the City Attorney’s draft ordinance:
http://safeaccessnow.org/downloads/four … LA_ord.pdf

23 Replies to “Medical Marijuana in LA: Make Your Voice Heard”

  1. awwww Lucinda! Seriously, this is an important issue for so many people. It’s a great opportunity to be heard. I know a couple of patients and having easy medical marijuana access really helped during their chemo…
    Anyway… I just feel rights that patients have worked so hard to attain shouldn’t summarily be taken away because of fear in the city attorneys office. Good legislation really can help and if people voice their desires, perhaps this rampage of fear can be quelled.

  2. I’ll be there. The time has changed to 8:30 but more than likely they’ll stall again and be hours late. You do have to show up early if you want to speak for 60 seconds.

    I am going to stop using the city attorney’s name. Think about it. Why would he be so obsessed with the medical marijuana issue? I’ve been trying to figure that out for weeks. I went to his town hall meeting on Monday and it hit me. He is a politician. He protests too loudly about how he told his staff that talking about politics would not be tolerated. Give me a break. That’s all he’s about. He’s already putting it out there that the city counsel if free to ignore his advise. I really don’t think he cares either way. He may even hope that they don’t listen to him. I think he knew that he would be in the LA Times, SF Chronicle, NY Times, Wall street Journal……..etc…on a daily basis if he flipped out over this issue. He realizes how popular the issue is. He knows how Googleable this will make him. (has made him) He now, so very quickly has captured the holy grail in politics, name recognition. Let’s stop helping him out.

  3. I have no problem with MEDICAL weed, but c’mon, you know it’s that it’s widely, rampantly abused.

    Let’s not go all “reefer madness” here and crack down like paranoids, wiping out the availability of medical marijuana (I really don’t see it as any different from an over-the-counter or prescription drug, and people who need it should be able to get it), but really, let’s be honest: I’m guessing the vast preponderance of users have no real medical “need.” If they wanna smoke out, they want to, but let’s not cloak it in the “medical” label. They just wanna get high. Be honest about it. I’m basically viewing it as akin to people abusing, say, cold medicine. Have a bad cough? Take cough syrup. Don’t have a cough? Then don’t pound the cough syrup.

  4. …and I’m sorry, Tammara, I didn’t mean to piss on your post, if that was how you felt. I’ve just seen way too much incriminating video of utterly inarticulate long-haired dudes in hemp ponchos in front of council meetings wheezing on & on incoherently about the multitudinous awesomeness of the WEEEEED, DUUUUUDE. I mean, really, fellas. If you’re gonna show up to argue that weed is good for you, don’t show up an incoherent mess & feed right back into the negative stereotype.

  5. The City Attorney’s 5th draft ordinance has been posted for public review:
    http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2008/08-0923_misc_11-13-09.pdf

    The FULL City Council has just added this 5th draft ordinance to their agenda which means it could be voted on.

    I noticed a few errors in your blog and would be more than happy to help you understand this issue a bit better.

    One error is about the nonprofit, cancer patients working, etc.

    This ordinance (and in all its drafts) BANS all “sales” of medical cannabis regardless if they are for-profit or not-profit and does not address “storefront” location but expects all collectives and cooperatives to cultivate onsite.

    @Lucinda,
    Please refrain from insulting medical cannabis patients with your gross stereotype and rampant accussation. I’d like to know what qualifications you have that allow you to diagonose someone with no medical condition and just wanting to get high. Some people, like me, have serious life-altering medical conditions and look “healthy” or “normal”. Injury and illness know no boundries and affect all kinds of people that don’t fit the typical stoner stereotype. I’m personally offended by your dumbed-down, and doped-up handling of this topic.

  6. @Herbalicious:

    “Some people, like me, have serious life-altering medical conditions and look “healthy” or “normal”.”

    So do I. Feel MY pain.

    I have no problem with legit medical use. But can anyone seriously look me in the eye and say CA’s cannabis economy isn’t massively abused by people falsifying prescriptions? WHY DO ALL MY FRIENDS HAVE PRESCRIPTIONS?! They don’t all have glaucoma, cancer, leukemia, or even debilitating anxiety.

    Crusade all you want to keep it safe, legal and easy to acquire for those who need it. But you canNOT seriously believe it isn’t being horribly managed at this point in time. There needs to be more oversight, it needs to be completely decriminalized nationally, and accredited official doctors need to be able to prescribe it to their patients. Health plans should cover it. Bring it out of the shadows, because right now those shadows are letting all sorts of abuses go down.

  7. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t care. I don’t really give a shit if people want to get high. People drink all the time and it’s legal (and causes more social issues than cannabis). But let’s just not call recreational use “medical.”

    I don’t know. Maybe we should decriminalize all drugs and just let the incorrigible addicts destroy themselves. Isn’t that all anyone is worried about? That people would get hooked & society would collapse? I don’t think most people would end up vacant-eyed wasteoids, and those who did, well…aren’t they already on drugs?

  8. Lucinda-
    I get your point. But as long as there is even ONE person who survives chemo because they are able to eat and rest by using cannabis, we should keep it access friendly. If that means there are some slips in the cracks so be it. It’s not a big deal. I’ve seen up close and personal the debilitating effects of chemo and it aint purdy… wasting is a serious side effect and people die and also just give up. On the flip side, I’ve seen people who used cannabis (while having chemo) keep an acceptable weight so they didn’t have to have a feeding tube because they kept nausea at bay. It’s not for us to judge. It’s a personal issue and we should be FREE to decide whether we as individuals need it, want it and use it. Our bodies are our own, not the government to decide how we medicate. That means dispensaries should be easily accessable.
    We don’t decide how drug companies make their profits… and they certainly abuse and damage more people than the cannabis industry. It’s a personal rights issue in my book. Even the AMA formally came out this past Monday with a recomendation to the govt that cannabis be taken off schedule 1 category because more research needs to be done. Small research projects have clearly shown it’s medical benefits, but large ones need to be granted. Anyway. No offense taken BTW…. just compassion and tolerance for all paths is my wish.

  9. I’ve posted my thoughts on medical marijuana here before. I know it works. I watched as it extended the length and quality of my grandmother’s life as she was dying of cancer.

    I totally agree with Tammara that access for patients should be kept legal and fairly easy. It should be no more difficult than going to your pharmacy of choice to fill a prescription.

    Hell, I even think recreational use should be decriminalized. I don’t smoke recreationally myself, but if someone else wants to, why not? Plenty of people drink recreationally, why not smoke? It seems to have fewer negative effects than alcohol, and would provide a great new revenue stream in taxes, too.

    I think the best point, as relates to this post (about speaking to committee members who will vote on this issue,) was made by Lucinda and clearly misunderstood by Herbalicious. Yes, there are many “normal” looking medical patients who benefit from marijuana use. That is not being disputed. Lucinda’s point was that no reasonable person would believe that 100% of those with prescriptions are legitimate medical patients. There are many stereotypical “stoners” who have prescriptions. They’re in it to get high. I don’t have a problem with them wanting to get high. The problem is they are often the ones who show up looking like stereotypical stoners (and stoned at the time) to shout “Legalize it!” They are the people the city attorney and his ilk are afraid of, and protesters who show up stoned and wearing hemp ponchos only confirm their fears.

    The people who need to be heard at meetings like this are the “normal looking,” informed, well-spoken medicinal users like Herbalicious seems to be.

  10. If the argument is to allow marijuana clinics for people who actually medically need marijuana, then there should be OUTRAGE against the vast majority of users who illegally obtain prescriptions, and the doctors who hands out prescriptions for the right price.

    Yet, I never see this. I do, very often, hear friends boasting about how easy it is to get a prescription.

    Like Burns!, I’m all for legalization… but I find the arguments to make it legal often time very disingenuous which I don’t think helps the cause, either with public support, or legally.

  11. @Markland –

    “If the argument is to allow marijuana clinics for people who actually medically need marijuana, then there should be OUTRAGE against (those) who illegally obtain prescriptions…”

    Mr. Markland-

    The first part of your statement lacks connection with the second half of your statement.

    One can both support the delivery of medical marijuana to patients AND support the recreational use of pot.

    There is no OUTRAGE against people who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Why? because it is legal. Unfortunately, even as most commentators here have a laissez-faire attitude about their friends smoking pot, marijuana is illogically illegal and so those who wish to pursue their God-given right to smoke pot MUST go through a ridiculous charade to obtain it. Your friends are not “boasting” about how easy it is, they are expressing joy and relief at the fact they don’t have to go underground to score some pot.

    It’s one thing if you honestly feel it is a demon weed that must be outlawed, but if you feel – as most of my generation do – that it’s not a big deal to smoke at parties and during Netflix rentals, then why such antagonism against people obtaining “medical marijuana for personal use. It’s bizarre.

    The bigger issue is: there are many good reasons to decriminalize marijuana. In the face of legal alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs (abused by many!), there is little reason to keep pot restricted and underground when it is NOT as dangerous as any of those three.

    It’s time this country got real about pot and stop framing it in some outdated 1950’s Eisenhower mentality.

    I doubt very much that Mr. Markland and Ms. Michele harass people who might be smoking pot on the patio during a friend’s barbecue with the same venom they choose to do so here.

    Clearly, Markland/Michele are drinkers and not smokers. :)

  12. “One can both support the delivery of medical marijuana to patients AND support the recreational use of pot.”

    And I do. But I also believe that the number of people who obtain bogus prescriptions claiming medical need, when there is no medical need, and then cry foul when clinics are being shut down because of said abuses is pretty lame. It reminds me of people fraudulenty obtaining handicapped parking placards, frankly (and then complaining there aren’t enought handicapped spots).

  13. ^
    Um, people fraudulently obtaining handicapped placards hurt actual handicapped people who need those placards by taking/using their limited parking spaces.

    People obtaining med pot scrips do not harm actual med pot patients – they are not taking limited supplies from people who need them. Unlike handicapped parking spaces, there is plenty of med pot to go around.

    Again, the reason people obtain med pot scrips is because they are unable to get pot legally. Re parking, people ARE able to park legally.

    Big difference.

  14. I’m sure Markland can respond more succinctly than I can, but I think Libertad has missed the point. In addition to missing the point, s/he adds insult to injury by beginning with “Um,” which is a patronizing way of saying, “You’re so dumb. How do you not understand the obvious truth that I am about to lay out for you?” It is a completely ineffective tactic when you’ve missed the point to begin with.

    No one is suggesting that there is a finite amount of medical marijuana, or that those who obtain fraudulent prescriptions are taking medicine from legitimate patients who need it. There’s plenty of weed for everyone.

    The point is that recreational smokers who obtain prescriptions without medical necessity do, in fact, harm actual med pot patients because they (fraudulent prescriptions) are the ones that politicians are trying to stop by outlawing the dispensaries. No one wanted to stop my grandmother from feeling better as she was dying. They want to stop the stoners from getting high, and they recognize that the stoners are exploiting a questionable loop-hole in the law to get their weed.

    Argue all you want about anyone’s “God-given right” to smoke marijuana. In this country, God doesn’t give the rights; federal, state and local legislatures make the laws. I encourage you to work to change the law. I think everyone (of legal age) who wants to smoke pot should be allowed to. The problem is that isn’t allowed as the law is currently written.

    *Everyone* knows that vast numbers medical marijuana “patients” are not actually afflicted with glaucoma at 22, or suffering from debilitating anxiety. Politicians can’t determine who does or doesn’t have a medical necessity, so instead they just try to shut the entire system down. By circumventing the current law and obtaining fraudulent prescriptions, recreational users who *want* the marijuana do, in fact, harm those with legitimate medical conditions who *need* the marijuana.

  15. ^
    @Burns:

    Um, one doesn’t need a life debilitating disease or illness to use marijuana for medical purposes. Pot is also effective medication for various ailments like asthma, migraines and (for 50% of the population) menstrual cramps etc. Just because someone looks/acts like Spicoli doesn’t mean he doesn’t get a healthful impact from pot. Judge not a book by it’s cover. For some people, simply chilling out and de-stressing with a puff could be beneficial to their long term health. By insisting that it must be GLAUCOMA or nothing, you undermine your thesis and demonstrate an inability to parse the vast middle ground. Stress is one of the leading life-shorteners – and *everyone* (as you say) knows pot helps in de-stressing.

    By your argument, people like Rush Limbaugh who fraudulently obtain/use prescription drugs like Oxy Contin “harm those with legitimate medical conditions”. Um, no.

    Finally, it is ludicrous to think that stoners can’t get pot if the clinics are closed. This is LA! Perhaps an ignorant right-wing politician pandering for votes might propose this, but most intelligent people know that stoners can get pot in LA regardless whether its from a clinic or a dealer. (They’ll just pay more for worse quality, lose half an hour of their life listening to stories in their dealer’s apt. and more innocent people will die as a result of drug wars.)

    Now don’t bogart that joint and let’s all chill out.

  16. A note to the individuals who have already, or who were considering, spamming this comment thread: Trying to use this comment thread as a place to peddle your products/promotions, legal or not, will result in you being banned. Thank you for playing.

  17. Libertad… I DO like your analogy re: stress. It’s easy to forget how linked to disease stress is… so yeah, using medical marijuana to alleviate it IS a valid point. Big Picture: We shouldn’t judge who ‘needs’ it and who doesn’t. Like with pain killers there will be abuses… but the good FAR outweighs the bad in my book. And polititians should not be the ones entrusted with ‘saving’ ourselves from ourselves by enacting laws that make it so difficult for a patient to receive care if they want it. If someone thinks they need to medicate with cannabis for whatever reason, they should have the right to have at it.

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