Though some anti-medical marijuana advocates may wish things were different, California voters approved medical marijuana in 1996 and eight years later the legislature enacted a law to permit storefront collectives and cooperatives to dispense medical marijuana. As a recent California appeals court decision explained, California law has “expressly authorized collective, cooperative cultivation projects as lawful means to obtain medical marijuana under California law and immunized the activities of such projects from both criminal sanctions and nuisance abatement actions.” County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective, 207 Cal. App. 4th 601 (July 2, 2012). Indeed, in that same decision, the court held that California law prohibits cities and counties from banning medical marijuana dispensaries.
The reason California law prevents localities from banning collectives is simple: seriously ill patients should not have to learn how to grow marijuana or turn to the black market in order to obtain a medicine their physician has told them they need.
Although there will always be recreational users who try to take advantage of access to any medicine—from cough syrup to attention deficit disorder medication—Californians have decided that this risk does not justify cutting off access for legitimate patients.
Allowing regulated access for qualified adult patients who must provide valid identification cards, in a licensed dispensary with municipal oversight will not increase teen abuse. In fact, the presence of licensed regulated facilities combats the black market, displacing drug dealers who deal indiscriminately to our youth.
Vote “Yes” on Proposition W.