What is it about medical marijuana which makes it this type of volatile topic? Why are the same states that originally decriminalized the sale of cannabis to doctor approved patients now wanting to impose so many restrictions? For supporters of full-scale legalization and the businesses which sell the product, there seems to be a constant dance between what is allowed and what isn’t.
LA Lottery Over
After California decriminalized the sale of medical marijuana nearly 800 storefronts opened underneath the guise of becoming dispensaries. In May of 2010 the owners of 439 of them were told to nearby June 7 in order to comply with ordinances. Distance from places where children congregate, such as schools and parks as well as registration deadlines that were exceeded were cited as reasons for the closures.
The next step involved a citywide lottery for the remaining dispensaries. Only collectives and dispensaries which have been functioning from Sept. 14, 2007 and have retained one or more original owner qualified for the lottery. LA has since informed the owners of 140 other stores they should close their doors as well, leaving the town 100 dispensaries.
How did things change so dramatically, whilst California debates collecting sales tax from medical marijuana dispensaries and growing cooperatives?
New Mexico: No Measure Yet
Governor Susana Martinez – R, made a problem of repealing the medical marijuana legislation in New Mexico, and has tried to bring a measure to the voters this season to do so clones Los Angeles. This position follows party lines. However, Rep. James Smith – R, the bill’s sponsor pulled the bill, replacing it with House Memorial 53 for a Department of Health impact study of medical marijuana acts. For the time being residents of New Mexico will still have the ability to obtain medical marijuana legally.
Although medical marijuana dispensaries have been decriminalized, it hasn’t brought them any nearer to an answer regarding their business transactions. Unless the dispensary is willing to function on a “cash only” basis, it may have difficulty obtaining needed commercial accounts, merchant accounts and insurance coverage. Creatively worded applications citing the sale of “supplements” and “medical care accessories” are now being red flagged.
Banks and other financial institutions have been in a quandary as well. This is a potentially huge market, but with fears about federal prosecution over drug related crimes, obtaining needed accounts may be particularly challenging.
One clear thing is emerging out of this little waltz: standards have to be set not merely concerning who has legal jurisdiction within the sale of marijuana for medical purposes, but if businesses doing business with the actual purveyors will undoubtedly be protected from unjust reprisals.