[Pictured: Hey Antonio...recognize THIS view. And I can keep an eye on City Hall from here, in case I need to walk over to discuss any "constituent services." And remember, ZD is homeless and all over the city on a daily basis, so EVER councimember is ZD's councilmember.]
June is an "off-the-hook" month for the medical marijuana.
I was walking down the street today, and passed one of those Medical Marijuana doctor offices. There were about fifteen people in the waiting room at 1pm on a Monday. And that was just ONE office. I popped my head into an office I passed by last month, and it looked like tickets for the next sold out show at Dodger's Stadium were going on sale. (A LOT OF PEOPLE WAITING.) Same story all over town.
So there sure is a demand for doctors to write prescriptions. And remember, the definition for what qualifies a patient to recieve medical marijuana is not the same standard for "synthetic" pharmacutical medications.
For example, the way it was explained to me by someone with experience on the topic is the definition is "provide relief" for you symptoms. It's not to cure a disease or sickness or knock out a virus. JUST TO PROVIDE RELIEF.
So to be honest, there is probably not a whole lot of doctors rejecting patients, because it's not up to them to put people up to a polygraph test when the person says they suffer from migranes or insomnia or whatever the cause. (Just as a medical doctor doesn't grill you too hard or hook you up to a polygraph before they write you a pharmacutical prescription.)
So there are a whole lot of doctors who are allowed to write prescriptions and it is not up to them to assume everyone is making it up. But it does seem as though someone should quarranteen the city, cause it seems like THE WHOLE CITY has SOME kind of problem and is suffering in some way from some ailment. Because the doctors offices are the busiest waiting rooms in town, in this down economic era.
And here's how else you know: We have all heard that these dispensaries are popping up all over the place and are becoming much more visible than it used to. BUT HERE'S THE EVIDENCE THAT REALLY DROVE IT HOME IN MY MIND...
There is a Medical Marijuana magazine/journal called, "LA JEMM" (pronounced "Gem".)
I picked up the June issue, and it felt like I picked up two issues, by mistake. BUT OH MY GOODNESS, the issue was about three times thicker than it was only two months ago.
Now keep in mind, this journal is nothing more than the ads for all the dispensaries. AND IT WAS THE BIGGEST MAGAZINE IN TOWN. All the other newspapers and magazines are now putting out their thinnest isses...not LA Jemme. I went back to check, and a few months ago it was 78 pages. Then last months was about 128. THE JUNE ISSUE IS 200 pages!
THE THING HAS TRIPLED, AT LEAST IN THE PAST YEAR. AND I AM TELLING YOU, THESE PAST TWO MONTHS MUST HAVE BEEN A DOOSEY WHEN IT COMES TO OPENING NEW CO-OPS.
There has been a hardship exemption that has allowed anyone to open up a dispensary, even though there is an ICO banning new ones from opening. But if you file for the hardship exemption, you have been allowed to open until the city deals with your claim.
Until now, they have not done anything, one way or the other. Now, in a move to try and appear to be doing something, now that it is so obvious and out of their control, like the Clear Channel billboards and gangs, by most likely removing the hardship exemption either at tomorrows (6/9/09) City Council meeting, or whenever they are finally ready.
However, there are already 500 dispensaries who have filed for hardships, and they will still be allowed to remain open, until city council goes through and votes, "no" on each and every one of them. Round one, starts tomorrow when 14 dispensaries will most likely all be "rejected" which will allow Building and Safety to write you up and pass it along to the city attorney's office.
And even if the City Attorney's office chooses to file a lawsuit against the dispensary, you have to wait for the court date, then it gets continued, then it gets appealed, then you have to start over again. Now true, I think a letter from Tru (City Attorney-elect Carmen Trutanich) saying that you are being sued may make some people scared enough to close up shop. But some will fight it, and it may be harder in some cases to shut em down.
LAPD feels they cannot enforce any of the places protected by the hardships.
AND THEN, you have all the illegal co-ops who aren't even filing diddily-squat. I guess they don't feel the pressure and feel protected. Because the other big industry booming out of this is the attorney industry who help all these dispensaries figure out how to open up.
And let's face it people, although the fees and fines can be a good source of revenue, we all know the city probaby does not have the manpower or resources to go after all these dispensaries. That process I just described was to just shut down ONE DISPENSARY. And there are several hundred of them across the city.
HERE'S THE POINT PEOPLE. TAKE IT FROM ZUMA DOGG WHO IS ON THE STREETS AND ALL ACROSS THE CITY ON A DAILY BASIS...
THIS MARIJUANA THING IS FUCKING HUGE!!!
I always used to tell my mom, "MOM, EVERYONE smokes pot!" And now, we are able to see the measure of it with the doctors who are writing the prescriptions that are causing the demand for all of these businesses to supply that demand. We are in the type of economic times where most businesses are folding. Here's an industry that is flourishing and expanding beyond anything the city can keep track of or has been able to regualte.
When you go to Venice Beach and look at all the retail stores in the main area, you will see all the stores who used to sell shirts and picutres and sunglasses and whatnot...ARE ALL NOW 100% GLASS! (Pipes and bongs...not eyeframes.)
DO YOU KNOW WHAT A STATEMENT THAT IS IN A FREE MARKET SOCIETY! NOTHING MATTERS BESIDES GLASS OR THEY WOULD BE STOCKING IT. THEY LITERALLY WIPED AWAY EVERYTHING ELSE!!!
PEOPLE...I know not everyone is in favor of marijuana, you think it's a bunch of B.S., you don't like the kind of people who smoke it, you think it should be illegal, you don't want dispensaries in your area..
IT'S OVER PEOPLE!!! People protested the Beatles' wild haircuts and hated that music. They were not going to accept it. FORGET IT...IT'S OVER!!! I have never seen anything like this...
YOU CANNOT STOP THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS ANYMORE BECAUSE THEY ARE ALREADY ALL OVER THE PLACE AND IT WILL BE HARD TO SHUT DOWN, AND THERE IS OBVIOUSLY A DEMAND AND IT'S THE CITY'S ONLY HOPE TO BRING IN SOME SERIOUS REVENUE. (Embrace and tax!)
The operators don't care about paying taxes if they don't get hasseled and are allowed to be legit.
And if there are places that are causing too much attention, then they should be focused on and forced to comply, just like a convienece store would get in trouble if people were drinking alcohol in the parking lot and causing trouble.
But what I do not buy, is the argument that it brings too much traffic to the area. REALLY??? I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE POINT OF A STORE! These dispensaries are in commercial areas. In strip malls and commerical shopping areas. If a new restaurant or coffee shop opens, that's what they want...TRAFFIC!
And most of these places are accomodating no more than three or four customers, I mean paitients at any given time. It's not like movie theater traffic.
AND, I must also say, as far as I have seen, ALL THE PLACES I HAVE SEEN are VERY low-key, make sure customers comply with their house rules. Can't have friends walk in and out with you. Can't have more than one person waiting in the car. You have to show ID and doctor reccomendation each and every time. THEY RUN VERY TIGHT OPERATIONS.
THEY HAVE A LICENSE TO SELL WEED!!! They don't want to fuck it up. NOW OF COURSE CHIEF BRATTON WILL SIT THERE AND TELL YOU THERE ARE SOME THAT DO NOT COMPLY AND CAUSE PROBLEMS. FINE...go get them. I'm here to say if you think you are going be able to address this by shutting down all the bad ones, that's not a drip in the bucket, because they are the lowest-key, tighest and most secure locations in town. And I will be glad to prove it by taking anyone on a random spot check of 20 shops throughout the city which should be a good enough sample. I say you will find 20 out of 20 dispensaries that are A-O.K. (So if you know of the shady ones, please tell me because I would truly like to know.)
So to the haters of this whole medical marijuana non-sense that you cannot even believe is happening, and just LOOK at all these stores opening and HOW COULD THOSE PEOPLE SMOKE POT and all that editiorial. Some people don't drink coffee, some people don't eat sushi, some people don't shop at a lot of places, but you better just try and relax over the situation because although City Council needs to have some photo ops and appear to be doing something, because there are more across the city than even Cheech and Chong could ever dream of having, it appears as though we have a Clear Channel billboard situation applied to co-ops.
So all Zuma Dogg can say is tax it and make money on it in all the ways including the stores that are leased and the other businesses that benefit from the customers and we need the money cause TEAM VILLAR lost $7 Billion in pension money.
ZD SAYS, "POT FOR PENSIONS!" Take the money you make from the medical marijuana industry...A BOOMING, OUT OF CONTROL, INDUSTRY to bail out the pension fund.
ZUMA DOGG FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA!
UPDATE: Is it possible LA City Council has NO AUTHORITY AT ALL TO ENFORCE ANY I.C.O. AT ALL REGARDING MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES? Here's the question: If it is State Law that you can operate these dispensaries under conditions of the State; what does the City charge you with? They can say they have their own laws regarding zoning, or opening up after the I.C.O was put in place.
BUT THEY COULD BE MAKING UP UNENFORCEABLE...FAKE...LAWS. Remember Venice Beach. They passed a local law saying you couldn't do "this or that" on the boardwalk. They told us, "The city runs the city." They were wrong, because a Federal Judge overturned the fake law that they were illegally enforcing. So perhaps, some folks could sue in State Supreme Court if the city ever actually tried to close a co-op. Sorry!
[TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: I was told by Dennis Zine today at the Council meeting that Attorney General Jerry Brown allowed provision for the city to regulate, so the above argument appears to be not valid, and not just because Zine told me, but because long-time Medical Marijuana pioneer, Richard Eastman was there with me to listen as a witness, and he agreed that it is true what Zine said about Brown's allowance at the city level. And if anyone would know and want to disagree with Zine on that specific issue it would have been Richard Eastman. So good enough for me, forn now.]