Should Marijuana Dispensaries Be Regulated by the Government?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The San Francisco Chronicle reported in a Mar. 21, 2005 article "Newsom Declares Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Clubs," by Suzanne Herel:

"San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom called for a moratorium today [3/21/05] on medical marijuana clubs in the city after learning that one such clinic planned to open on the ground floor of a city-funded welfare hotel that is home to a number of recovering drug addicts.

'That obviously raised some concern, not just from the community, not just from our Departments of Human Services, but from the residents within the building themselves, who appropriately said, ‘Hey, I'm just trying to get away from drugs and alcohol and here you have a pot club downstairs,'' Newsom said...

Since state voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana, San Francisco has become home to more than 30 percent of the state's 125-plus dispensaries, Newsom said. However, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly how many such clinics operate in the city, he said, because they are not regulated.

There are no legal requirements in San Francisco to show an identification card when purchasing marijuana, no licensing or permitting necessary for clubs, and no restrictions on prices or client age."

Mar. 21, 2005 - San Francisco Chronicle 

California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (CalNORML), reported in its May 2005 newsletter to members:

"Faced with a growing proliferation of medical cannabis dispensaries, coops and delivery services, local governments around the state [California] have been stampeding to enact ordinances regulating or restricting them.

As of April [2005], some 16 cities and counties in California had ordinances regulating medical cannabis dispensaries; five had banned them entirely; while more than 40 others had enacted temporary moratoriums on new dispensaries pending further legislation."

May 2005 - California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (CalNORML) 



PRO (yes)

The New York Times stated in its June 24, 2005 editorial "When Medical Marijuana Is Misused":

"Those who believe, as we do, that marijuana should be legally available for medical treatments have to be concerned about reports of abuses in California's pioneering medical marijuana program. If the abuses cannot be curbed, a political backlash could undermine the ability of thousands of patients to get marijuana to treat the nausea of chemotherapy, the loss of appetite that accompanies AIDS and other medical problems...

Public officials would be wise to clean up their programs lest flagrant abuses by a few bad actors bring about destruction of a program that benefits many.... Californians who support medical uses of marijuana see the danger and are already moving to tighten regulations. Public officials and even medical marijuana advocates in California have been looking for ways to rein in abuses and oversee the dispensaries. Stronger regulation, some say, would help defuse opposition and send a message that, whatever federal drug officials may have in mind, the state stands behind its medical marijuana law."

June 24, 2005 - New York Times 



Americans For Safe Access (ASA) spokesperson Hillary McQuie stated in a June 15, 1005 New York Times article titled "California Reins in Clinics Using Marijuana for Medical Purposes" by Dean E. Murphy:

"Regulation would not only defuse opposition, but also demonstrate to the federal government that California lawmakers stand behind the state's medical marijuana law.

We want licenses, we want zoning, we want permits. Since states are meant to be the social laboratories, we want to show how well medical marijuana can work."

June 15, 1005 - Americans for Safe Access (ASA) 



The Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center's (LACRC) former Executive Director Scott Imler wrote in an editorial published June 2, 2005 in the Los Angeles Independent:

"As cause and effect would have it, the DEA's destruction of the LACRC -- widely regarded as the most strictly regulated program of its kind -- only served to drive patients into the waiting arms of black-market dealers and opened the floodgates to a torrent of completely unregulated, out of town potrepreneurs, hanging out their shingles in West Hollywood's 1.9 square miles...

With little or no oversight or accountability, the West Hollywood City Council rightly enacted a moratorium until such time as consistent regulations can be promulgated to protect patients, ensure compliance with state law, and to mitigate adverse neighborhood impacts.

For the record: Nothing in Proposition 215 or Senate Bill 420 legalized the 'sale' of marijuana, or the 're-sale of black-market products,' or 'for-profit operations.' ... What the legislation allows for is a far cry from the operations currently in place."

June 2, 2005 - Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center 



CON (no)

The British Columbia Compassion Club Society's (BCCCS) founder and spokesperson Hilary Black stated the following on the organization's website on July 5, 2001:

"In agreement with the Canadian Medical Association, the BCCCS considers marijuana to be a natural healthcare product that does not need to be controlled by doctors...

The pretense of requiring a Doctor's recommendation is based on stigma, control and fear rather than on any legitimate health concerns. Cannabis should be accessed in a similar manner as all other herbs.

We need to be making health care decisions based on health concerns, not on legal catches. The BCCCS is not legally in a safe enough position to take that stand, but the government is."

July 5, 2001 - British Columbia Compassion Club Society (BCCCS)