Medical cannabis news wrap: San Diego, L.A., Lodi, Shasta County

Medical cannabis patients in San Diego have long suffered under an aggressive county district attorney and public officials hostile to medical cannabis dispensaries and collectives. In a stunning about-face, San Diego’s new mayor has put the brakes on legal actions and code enforcement against medical marijuana dispensaries.

That won’t stop federal prosecutors from targeting San Diego dispensaries, as the Union-Tribune reports, and U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy’s cryptic “wait-and-see” comment doesn’t offer any assurances to dispensaries that might open up under new regulations proposed by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. Any new ordinance must pass muster with San Diego City Council and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who wasn’t pleased with the way Filner issued his directives to the Police Department and code enforcement.

“Rather than pursue the drama last night and call for a demonstration, you could have achieved your goal in less than 30 seconds” with a phone call, Goldsmith wrote. Good times ahead.

Los Angeles voters could decide fate of dispensaries in May

A confusing mess of competing marijuana measures may greet Los Angeles voters in the May municipal election, with the medical marijuana community showing more signs of division than unity.

Two of the L.A. medical marijuana proposals qualified for the ballot last week, the Los Angeles Times reports. One would grandfather in medical cannabis dispensaries that opened up before a city moratorium took effect in 2007. The second proposal wouldn’t set a hard cap on the number of medical cannabis dispensaries and would raise taxes on sales to pay for enforcement.

Neither option appeals to the Los Angeles City Council, which is working on its own ballot measure rather than pursue another dispensary ordinance. L.A. has struggled with the issue for years, both politically and legally, and hundreds of medical cannabis dispensaries have opened and closed despite crackdowns by city and/or federal officials.

Lodi nonprofit chief advised Stockton cannabis dispensary

Civic leaders are hurling grapes of wrath at the CEO of a Lodi nonprofit who did financial consulting for a Stockton medical cannabis dispensary.

While the dispensary’s books are apparently in order, the story doesn’t have a happy ending; Central Valley Caregivers Cooperative was raided in October 2011 during the early days of the dispensary crackdown by the U.S. Attorneys Offices in California. U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner was quoted describing Matthew Davies “one of the most significant commercial marijuana traffickers to be prosecuted in this district” in a recent New York Times article.

The Times article apparently raised eyebrows in Lodi, where Paul Bonell now serves as the chief executive officer of the Lodi Boys and Girls Club. A former credit union president, Bonell did not list his consulting work for Davies’ medical cannabis dispensary on his resume, club directors told the Stockton Record.

Shasta County supervisors delay medical cannabis cultivation rules

Bucking the trend to ban first and ask questions later, Shasta County supervisors appointed a task force to examine the issue of medical cannabis cultivation. Tuesday’s action was in response to a proposal to ban all outdoor cultivation, following the lead of Fresno, Lodi and other cities.

Assistant Resource Management Director Rick Simon said complaints didn’t revolve around the county’s current ordinance but rather with lagging efforts to enforce it. The medical cannabis hearing drew a capacity crowd at the Shasta County board chambers, the Redding Record Searchlight reports, perhaps accounting for the supervisors’ willingness to seek alternatives to an outdoor growing ban.

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