On Sept. 12, 2005, the Third District Court of Appeal issued a positive decision affirming the legality of collectives and cooperatives. In People v. Urziceanu, the Court of Appeal held that the Medical Marijuana Program Act — which is what it called SB 420 — provides for a defense to marijuana distribution for collectives and cooperatives.
Americans for Safe Access (www.safeaccessnow.org) and I strongly believe that, for your safety, you should not purchase medical marijuana from "drug dealers." Instead, we recommend you purchase medical cannabis from a reputable dispensary/ collective and cooperative operation until the state resolves this issue.
There are now eight counties (Kern, Alameda, Calaveras, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Clara) and 23 cities (Atascadero, Angels Camp, Berkeley, Citrus Heights, Dixon, Elk Grove, Fort Bragg, Hayward, Jackson, Martinez, Oakland, Placerville, Plymouth, Ripon, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Selma, Sutter Creek, Tulare, Visalia, West Hollywood and Whittier) implementing state ID cards and medical marijuana dispensary ordinances.
In May, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a progressive medical marijuana ordinance to regulate medical cannabis dispensaries.
The following is what they passed:
No cap on the number of dispensaries allowed in L.A. County, underscoring the need for patient demand to be the marker of capacity;
The dispensary permitting process will be run by the planning department instead of law enforcement;
The provision by dispensaries of cannabis plant cuttings for home cultivation, to allow patients to save money and become self-sufficient;
On-site consumption of marijuana to allow patients to consume their medicine and socialize in a way that is prohibited in most other settings.
We believe the burden falls back to the Laguna Beach City Council to allow for collective and cooperative operations or dispensaries to exist for patients and caregivers to go and obtain medical marijuana in a safe haven.
We also believe that the burden falls back to the Orange County Board of Supervisors to implement a medical marijuana identification system to provide continuity for local law enforcement to identify legitimate patients and caregivers.
It is time for the City Council and local officials to find compassion, pull their heads out of the sand and start making sensible, responsible policy decisions.
Dr. Alfonso Jimenez is a qualified medical marijuana examiner with a practice in Laguna Beach.