Patients within the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles have been faced with a lack of legal access to medical marijuana for months now – and it appears they will be going another year without it. Back in April, there was a temporary 45 day ban on medical marijuana cultivation, testing, sales and delivery, which was extended at the end of May for an additional 30 days. On June 29th, the Board of Supervisors met once again on the subject of whether or not to continue this ban.
Previously, when deciding in May that they would continue the ban for another month, it was instead of voting in favor of a 10 month long ban. This time around they’ve gone in the opposite direction, approving a ban for a full year by the end of their meeting. It is believed that their plan is to hold off on making a decision until they know how things are going to turn out with the Adult Use of Marijuana Act in November.
“The appetite in the past is to continue the ban until we see what the voters will do in California,” Kuehl said. “There are several pieces to this. I would like our county counsel on this to be ready for a set of proposed regulations that would go into effect the day that voters adopt anything.”
With this ban will come a revival of the black market – something that no one wants to see happen. Unfortunately, only patients and activists are the ones seeing how this ban is going to reverse any progress that was made in the Los Angeles area. People will start growing in their basements once again and selling to those they know – word gets around and patients who are desperate for access to their medicine are not afraid to purchase it illegally in most cases.
All of this came shortly after the state passed their first set of true regulations surrounding medical marijuana, and some counties who feared they would not be able to comply with the regulations within a proper time frame decided to put a temporary ban up until they could decide on and feel confident in enforcing the new laws governing the industry.
“Bans don’t work,” said Kathleen Villarreal, with the pro-medical marijuana group Patient Coalition Los Angeles. “It’ll be grown illegally and sold into the black market. We want the industry to be regulated, to have marijuana be tested and safe.”
Hopefully the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will rethink this decision by the time November rolls around and patients will be able to have legal access to their medicine. Some patients are too sick to travel to other counties in order to purchase their medicine legally and they will turn to either purchasing illegally or growing from home in order to receive the medicine they need. It could be over a year before LA patients have legal access in their own hometown.