Cannabis clubs need clear guidelines

San Francisco has 26 storefront cannabis clubs, regulated by planning and health codes. Oakland has warehouse-size operations, officially encouraged by city leaders as a local industry. Los Angeles, though, has been struggling to gain control of its medical marijuana operations. There are 762 dispensaries with an estimated 200 more selling without permits in Los Angeles. According to a city official, the total outnumbers Starbucks outlets, a dubious distinction that this week pushed the City Council to the breaking point. By a 14-0 vote, the council ordered all the outlets shut down, siding with neighborhood complaints, worries about crime and concerns that the businesses are all about recreational drug sales, not the delivery of medical marijuana to ailing patients. It’s not a total banishment, since the council is proposing starting over in several months with 70 dispensaries.

The twist is the latest reminder that this state needs to revise its loophole-ridden law on medical pot. Voters approved the medical use of marijuana in 1996, leaving the details of growing, selling and regulating woefully unclear. This confusion and uncertainty need answers. Sacramento has mostly ignored the task of writing better rules. After the U.S. Justice Department signaled tolerance, federal attorneys indicated they were fed up with abuses and launched raids and asset seizures to close scores of outlets. The state Supreme Court may rule next year on whether local jurisdictions can ban and regulate dispensaries. This drift isn’t serving anyone well. Neither patients, providers nor law enforcement know what to expect or where to go for workable answers. Yet 16 other states and the District of Columbia permit medical marijuana with nothing like the trouble it’s causing in California. It’s time for a comprehensive answer with clear rules and standards, not a haphazard set of decisions.

via : SF Gate

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