Can Medical Marijuana Cure Bad Politics?

In the midst of a depression, the Los Angeles City Council wants to create 30 empty storefronts where thriving businesses now reside and throw hundreds of people out of work. And that’s just in Venice. Throughout the city of L.A., thousands would be out of work, a good proportion no doubt would become homeless for lack of income. California’s unemployment rate is now 12.4 percent, the highest since 1940.

The animosity of the city council toward cannabis is apparently fueled by a discredited notion that it is a dangerous drug rather than a medicine that helps tens of thousands of the terminally ill and chronic pain sufferers.

On Jan. 26, the City Council passed 9-3 a mean-spirited ordinance that could eliminate all but one medical marijuana dispensary in Venice. Councilmember Bill Rosendahl was the only opposition to the measure. Two others, Bernard C. Parks, Jan Perry, voted against the measure because they felt it wasn’t strong enough.

The ordinance would ban dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school, another indication that the city council considers cannabis to be a dangerous drug. No such rules apply to drug stores, where really dangerous drugs are routinely dispensed. The ordinance would set a goal of only 70 dispensaries in Los Angeles. There are far more dispensaries of alcohol, including liquor stores, grocery stores and bars; however, the City Council seems unconcerned about their proliferation.

No attempt was made by the city council to tailor the ordinance to the varying attitudes within the city. For instance, a number of Venetians have spoken out in support of the dispensaries and legalization of cannabis.

Rosendahl told the Beachhead that he had made a motion to leave it up to the various councilmembers to craft rules for their districts but that the motion had died for lack of a second. A lawsuit by the dispensaries has been promised to overturn the ordinance.

More evidence that the city council is on the wrong side of history came Jan. 29 when petitions were filed to put a proposition on the November ballot in California that would legalize and tax the sale of cannabis. More than two-thirds of a million Californians put their names on the petitions, thereby nearly guaranteeing that the initiative will qualify for the ballot.

Categories: Drugs, Politics