(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Should local governments in California have the power to ban medical marijuana outlets? That’s the question the state Supreme Court will take up on Tuesday in a closely watched case. Meanwhile, things are heating up in Oakland, where the Harborside Health Center marijuana dispensary faces possible closure by the U.S. Justice Department. We get the latest on the state’s pot wars.

Guests:
Michael Montgomery, reporter for KQED News and public safety reporter for California Watch

  • erictremont

    Imagine if the U.S. Congress passed much stricter gun control legislation than currently exists, and a bunch of self-righteous and sanctimonius gun lovers in California decided to flagrantly violate Federal law by setting up gun shops all over the state, and then justified their actions on the basis that that state law trumps Federal law (despite 150 years of Federal court rulings to the contrary). Would anybody expect the U.S. Justice Department to tolerate such a situation? Not likely. The medical pot clubs and dispensaries deserve to be shut down by the Feds, they are clearly in violation of Federal law.

    • Fay Nissenbaum

      You forget patients on their deathbeds, and specifically AIDS patients, who benefit from marijuana (proved medically), in contrast to far more toxic pharmaceuticals. Prop 215 is the compassionate care act which addresses medical benefits such as appetite stimulation and pain control. Apples ‘n’ oranges argument you make…

      • erictremont

        I would be sympathetic to your argument if somebody could prove that AIDS patients near the end of life are typical of medical marijuana club members in California, but all of the evidence suggests that is not true. If someone who believes that medical pot is the only thing that will bring them pain relief from a serious illness, I would certainly respect him/her if they want to use pot in the name of civil disobedience. But please don’t tell me that it is not a violation of Federal law, it doesn’t even pass the legal laugh test.

        • Sigmarlin

          I still don’t understand what business it is of yours what people do with their personal decisions, diseased or not. Why don’t you spend some time lecturing drunks at bars about how they are destroying their livers and upsetting their children; at least your self-righteousness would be even handed then.

          • UhHuh

            “In the war on drugs, federal grant programs like the Edward Byrne
            Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program have encouraged state and
            local law enforcement agencies to boost drug arrests in order to compete
            for millions of dollars in funding. Agencies receive cash rewards for
            arresting high numbers of people for drug offenses, no matter how minor
            the offenses or how weak the evidence. Law enforcement has increasingly
            become a numbers game. And as it has, police officers’ tendency to
            regard procedural rules as optional and to lie and distort the facts has
            grown as well. ”

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/why-police-officers-lie-under-oath.html?pagewanted=1&ref=general&src=me

          • erictremont

            The NY Times article you cited has absolutely nothing to do with medical marijuana, it is irrelevant to this topic.

    • Sigmarlin

      You are very much in love with your laws. I see this differently…sometimes what the law says is out of touch with the real world. Slavery or the woman’s vote are good examples of not representing human decency and common sense. The tide is changing and the majority is willing to admit that restrictions on marijuana make no sense when the far deadlier alcohol is allowed. Even the report Nixon commissioned to explore marijuana’s dangers came up with the same conclusions…that we are still having this fight over a naturally occurring plant 30 years later is ridiculous. Perhaps because it is harder to profit from than say, the dangerous and habit forming Oxycotin. If you could grow Oxycotin, Big Pharma would also want to make sure there was no access to it.

      • erictremont

        I think you are missing my point—I am concerned about using medical pot to set legal precedents. In case you’ve forgotten, it was the strong arm of Federal civil rights law which played a huge role in ending racist practices that were justified by Southern states in the name of state rights. If states are permitted to ignore Federal law in the name of helping medical pot users, it will set a precedent that will come back to haunt progressives. See my point about gun control above.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Local gov’ts know are in a better position to know problem neighborhoods where MCDs are inappropriate, especially where community groups – of which SF has many – advocate against locating MCDs for reasons of parking, gang activity, etc. Community groups have access to their local politicians where they dont at the more bureaucratic state level.

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