Cost and Effect: How the Politics of Cannabis Cost

Yesterday, the City of Los Angeles Council members voted 14-0 in favor of banning an estimated 1,000 cannabis dispensary locations within city limits, while leaving an exempt number of storefronts operating under revised regulations. The overwhelming vote to ban these dispensaries was also backed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has the option to veto. This is a very common theme emerging with local governments taking a “Zero Tolerance” position to State Law, while in many cases assisting Federal Agents in carrying out militarized raids on members of the community.

In 1996, California legalized the use of cannabis which specified a medicinal need be designated by a doctor for someone to fall under the law. Doctors began doing what they do best and prescribed the medicine for the historical uses of the herb (See History of Cannabis for a background.) While effective at uncovering many of the untruths associated with marijuana use and the true benefits cannabis offers, word of “Legalized Pot” traveled.

Confusion brings us to today with “at least 178 California cities […] and 20 counties already have banned retail pot shops, according to the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.” ( WaPo). And on the other hand, due to the many ways cannabis can be used medicinally, doctors have prescribed more than a million patients and opened up the doorway for 15 states to follow California’s lead in acknowledging medical marijuana. But what happens as you increase the size of an industry – a currently Federally illegal industry due to non recognition of a medicinal value – is that you get ‘all sorts’. Many of these 1000 dispensaries closing in LA are legitimately servicing a need, not exploiting the laws as many who voted last night would like to believe.