CA Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown Says Medical Marijuana Sales Are Illegal

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In a bitter disappointment to supporters of regulated sales of medical marijuana, California Attorney General Jerry Brown has said in a radio interview that all sales of marijuana are illegal, “no matter what.”

Brown told KFI News that he supports the efforts of Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley (who’s grabbed a lot of headlines recently with his hardline anti-dispensary stance, infamously saying “approximately zero” of the dispensaries were legal) and L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich (ditto) in going after marijuana dispensaries selling pot to patients.

Photo: Scott Clarkson
AG Jerry Brown: “The dope business”

‚Äč”Unfortunately in some communities, Los Angeles in particular, there’s a lot of exploitation and just getting into the, er, drug business, the dope business,” Brown told KFI.
The L.A. City Council, which has seemed disinclined to take the advice of Cooley and Trutanich (much to Cooley’s public chagrin) spent about five hours today hammering out guidelines for their long-awaited, much-amended medical marijuana ordinance.

Among the provisions the council suggested were capping the number of dispensaries in Los Angeles between 70 and 200, and allowing reimbursement for “actual expenses. The council members are attempting to address an explosion of dispensaries, which number between 800 and 1,000, according to many estimates.
D.A. Cooley has publicly vowed to continue targeting any dispensaries which accept cash for marijuana in over-the-counter sales, regardless of what action the L.A. City Council takes.
According to 2008 guidelines (PDF) from the attorney general, qualified medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers can form cooperatives or collectives to grow and supply pot to members. The collectives must operate on a not-for-profit basis but are allowed to recoup expenses. Dispensary operators and their defenders say that is where the over-the-counter sales come in.
City Attorney Trutanich, like Cooley a harsh critic of over-the-counter sales, maintains the costs must be recouped through a mechanism such as monthly membership dues. Law-enforcement officials (who seem to have somehow suddenly become medical authorities as well) also claim dispensary operators often don’t qualify as primary caregivers.
Brown granted that California’s medical marijuana laws are “very confusing,” and added he hopes California’s courts or Legislature would help to clarify them.
recent poll showed a whopping 77 percent of Los Angelenos support regulating, rather than eliminating, the marijuana dispensaries. If L.A. bans dispensaries, it could cost the city between $36 million and $74 million, according to California NORML.
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