Up In Smoke

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There are now more medical marijuana clinics in the city of Los Angeles than there are Starbucks. It may seem surprising until you take a closer look at how L.A.’s city leaders have handled the regulation of these dispensaries. Correspondent Judy Muller takes a look at the proliferation of clinics across the city and who's nervous about it.

This story was the first in our duPont-Columbia award winning series on marijuana in Southern California. Check out the rest:

RESOURCES:

View the latest list of hardship exemption applications
Information on the city's policy on medical marijuana

Associate Producer: Christal Smith; Editor: Alberto Arce


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High Time for Change?

You might think a conservative judge from a conservative county would advocate for the prohibition of marijuana, but - based on his experiences - he is adamantly pro legalization.

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52 Comments


Marijuana should be made completely legal !!
and it should be taxed to help California..!!!
We should also be growing hemp!!
FOR GOD'S SAKE!

I see no crowds, party's or pot smoke poring out of the clinics in Eagle Rock. They seem to be mellow and respectful of the community. As far as I can see the only thing accomplished by this group is to have yet another vacant building in the community.

Please live and let live. Use your powers for the good of the community. Not to take away revenue but to generate it.

The only thing worse than the pathetically juvenile narcissism of the pro-pot crowd is their intellectual dishonesty. If only they would say they simply want to get stoned and remain in that addled condition then I could respect that. But to position themselves behind the cheap storefront facade of wanting to help the HIV/cancer/anorexia/insomnia/bad hangnail crowd then that is where I draw the line. If you guys want to get wasted go ahead. Start gathering signatures for legalizing pot,. And while you're at it, legalize every drug on the book if that what makes you happy. Just don't do drugs near my home, children, school, church, or park. Also, don't ask me to pay taxes to provide drug counseling, halfway houses, therapy, needle exchanges, condoms, methadone, or dental implants when the crystal meth has burned through your neurons. Don't ask me to pay for social workers to look out for your kids when you have forgotten to feed them or can't recall whose crash pad you dropped them off. Don't ask me to fund those stupid advertisements on TV about cigarettes, drunk driving, or drop-kicking your dog over my fence. You want to smoke dope? Go ahead. I did when I was young and stupid, too. But eventually, I grew up. It was painful and expensive. In the meantime, let's just call a spade a spade and give you your chance for a similar experience as well. Regulate it, tax it, and enforce a mutually agreed upon law. But most of all, let's be honest while we're doing it.

Dear Kevin, sorry that your public school education hasn't really payed off now that you are 35 and the head manager and the local Arco station. I guess you are right drugs don't work but guess what most people who are using medicinal mary are working and in fact are highly functioning college grads who are contributing to society, (ie) adults.

So before you ramble off other worthless generic generalities as solutions for your mess living in Van Nuys, just remember in the real world Compassion is still a commodity and that doesn't make you weak it makes you human, cheers....

Mr. Kevin Glynn,

I would like to talk to you. Re: Eagle Rock.

Thank you.

I just watched your ill-produced show on the clinics here in L.A. Wow, you have it all wrong. First Judge Grey who speaks at the end, is creating out of thin air the stats he is using, to make Mexico and Latinos look bad, again.

Secondly, Melrose IS the New Amsterdam. Pundits and carpet baggers like Paul Lerner are making mountains out of molehills to get money for their own organizations to be funded. His Org has done NOTHING to help Melrose but uses it to create a problem that does not exist to what? Get money from Jack Weiss. In fact I guarantee if you follow the money, you will see that his Org is a PR front to help Jack Weiss get elected, and they just got $40,000 from JACK and wheres the money now Paul?

Now if you look at these dispensaries opening up, the same ones that our PRESIDENT OBAMA said to leave alone; they are the only ones in town let alone on Melrose who are ACTUALLY MAKING MONEY (to pay more taxes). While the number of other businesses close and create more dilapidation on Melrose, these businesses are a TRUE example of Free Market Capitalism. Oh and guess what.
F.M.C. is what America is based on, not sniveling companies like KCET or other PBS companies who are always begging for money from the viewers.

HEMP. POT. MARIJUANA. Have always been here and will still be around after we are gone. They do not attract criminal elements, in fact it is the opposite, they create business and that is what scares oil, tobacco and alcohol companies. The same companies that are killing the planet and our people, everyday. And I guarantee that if you follow the money you will see how your show and the station are paid for by the oil, tobacco and alcohol companies.

For once I can say THANK God for the L.A. city counsel who are turning a blind eye to this and in fact being real Americans by letting these business do what they are supposed to do, help people.

PS: I live near Melrose and believe me if I thought this was a problem I would have strongly voiced my opinion.


This is an excellent piece of investigate journalism. Thank goodness we have KCET and shows like SoCal Connected to do these in-depth stories, when most TV news programs focus on mindless sensationalism and celebrity gossip. Please keep it up - and keep the politicians on guard that someone is watching we they are doing (or in this case, not doing). Now that the Los Angeles Times is being hollowed out from within, we need KCET more than ever to cover the local issues. I know, I know, I will renew my (lapsed) membership!

So we should close gas station and liquor stores, too, right? And pull liquor and beer from the super market? Cars, Gas, and booze are all marketed to kids without restraint.

Both gas stations and liquor stores as well as supermarkets get robbed, too. And both young people and scumbags need gas and food, while wanting beer and liquor.

So gas stations, liquor stores, mom & pop specialty markets and supermarkets attract bad crowds and cause crime in their locations, too.

Is there ANY EVIDENCE that medical marijuana dispensaries are robbed at a greater rate than other businesses with a high cash volume or easily resold products?

If so, please produce it. We, the sick and dying, need all the data we can get to counter one-sided accusatory pieces attacking dispensaries. But, hey, the press at ther time decided, after they passed into their 40s and 50s in 1986

I for one am ill, with a peripheral neuropathy that responds well to cannabis called charcot-marie-tooth disease. I moved to the Netherlands in 1993 to avoid being one of the ten million arrested for cannabis possession 1993-2007, according to FBI crime statistics.

I returned because after 11 years, I decided medical marijuana was here to stay.

The chaos in the development of dispensaries is exactly and precisely because of intransigence on the part of police and politician alike, and of media outlets that went along with police and politicians without checking a single assertion of bad and horrible made by these groups about any type of non-prohibition, likely because they need to work with police and politicians in order to get the information they need about x,y, or z. And police and politicians are well known to be retaliatory in their behavior.

Had police and politicians not dragged their heals and retrenched, stifling any debate at any place or time they could, with things like threats by city attorneys that approving dispensary zoning would constitute violations of Federal Law that these city politicians and cities could hardly afford to defend, even though LA and San Francisco and Alameda counties had had systems in place, with the first major move coming from Jerry Brown as Oakland's mayor, when he declared Oakland had a city emergency, which created the "Oaksterdam," section of Downtown Oakland

This action creating quite the target federal authorities, who did nothing. As attorney General, Brown has, after a number of court decision settling the question of Federal versus state law supremacy, issued legal guidelines for the opeartion of the system and how police are to respond. Specifically,

Once again, making himself a big target for Federal authorities: California constitution requires State officials to follow STATE law in the even to of a Federal/state conflict.

So, I question this presentation as unquestionably driven by an agenda to slow and or get rid of these dispensaries, no matter the effect on the sick and dying who have fought so hard to get where we are.

And what was the pun about in the story headline? I now the style books require a marijuana pun in marijuana article headlines... But this one doesn't make sense.

Perhaps the style book should be discarded..the pot pun has been done in headlines. In fact, pot puns, if you are an opponent, work against you, for it is really giggling to yourself about a story about pot, which makes rational people believe the story is less than serious.

But the poy pun i headline described as a cat, would have had 9,000 lives. It has been done, folks. You should stop with them, even as you describe people, the sick and dying clients of dispensaries when on a ballot, as really just fraudulent young criminals making trouble in your neighborhood.

But it is your local cops and your local politicians and their unwillingness to even discuss the subject without being forced by legislation which they challenged in court, multiple times, and lost who are responsible for the ad-hoc development of these dispensaries.

So instead of making allegations, complaints and sew innuendo about the people who go to the dispensaries... deal with the cops and the bureaucracies and the politicians, just like we did. You should, however have to pay for your own TV time instead of stealing it from a PBS station, many of whose contributors are both medical and recreational cannabis users.

You have made your bed...now shut up and go to bed. We, the sick and dying, are tired of being hounded by you in your attempts to create even less access for us, which results inevitably in more chaos for you.. which you will report on a year from now. When will you learn you cannot suppress cannabis?

The blame for the chaos lies squarely on your shoulders, however, for believing the police and politicians in their quest, and for financing them and egging them on, for a drug free world, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, coffee, tea, chocolate and tobacco exempted of course, because you like and use those, and you are honorable men.

There are huge numbers of places to buy alcohol, coffee, tea, and pharmaceuticals, and they can get robbed and scumbags like these things too.

Just exactly what then makes a dispensary different from other businesses? The allegedly dangerous product?

Thank you for showing what's really going on with these dispensaries, especially in the Melrose area where I live. We feel inundated with these places, which are obviously marketing to kids, not to people with medical reasons. And we know there is a lot of crime connected to these places - there was an armed robbery recently at a dispensary just a few blocks from where I live. It's just a matter of time until innocent people are killed at these places, or near them. We feel the government is ignoring our concerns, so I'm glad that you showed the reality that we see every day.

By your logic we should ban any business that sells any product and/or is a cash business. If anything you have raised the argument FOR having dispensaries. Having specific legal locations condenses the crime associated with marijuana dramatically. No more street dealers. No more kid dealers. Less random violence. How is this difficult to grasp?
If you want to completely eliminate crime associated (not caused by) with marijuana then legalize. Let users grow their own. Problem solved. Now go and drink your alcohol and ponder more at:
http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php

California needs to get all the money it can for vital services. The state needs to tax gas 'n' grass!:

Double or triple the measly 18-cent gasoline tax to 36 cents or 54 cents. And legalize tax cannabis, which will reduce the narco-trafficking of the substance.

Taxing both of these will reduce carbon and crime, respectively! While raising much-needed state revenue -- a win-win policy accomplishment if there ever was such.

legalize! regulate! tax!
Melrose is a 'hotbed' because of the proximity of numerous elderly and HIV/AIDS patients.

Im watching Dr. Phil right now talking about young kids experimenting with chemicals and trying to smoke bananas and use other things that liquor based solvents aren't even drugs.

I also am familiar with the show Breaking Bad that is on AMC that in my opinion, glorifies Crystal meth. Now, im no prude but I would rather my kids who are 14 and 17, experimenting with pot than using or abusing Meth or smoking crack, or bananas.

Seriously, didn't we learn our lesson from the 70s and 80s.
Marijuana's history has far less damaging effects than alcohol and tobacco have and yet it is still made to look worse.

I have to agree with the guy above who says follow the money, I think that the industrial uses of hemp and medical uses of Marijuana are what really are scaring the DuPonts and pharmaceutical companies out there.

Great story but I think it was a little anti-pot biased but then again what can you expect from American television.

If you want a real story, ask yourself why is it that our own President Obama has backed off from Medical Mary but our local politicians are using it to further their own careers, that's the real issue?

John C.


This is a very good news report that shows what is really going on in LA - the only thing they left out is how much crime happens at these marijuana clinics - there was a murder at a clinic last year - security guard killed during an armed robbery - and many many clincs have been robbed at gunpoint - that is what is freaking out the neighbors - and they should be worried because many clinics are run by gangs or organized crime... why do you think gang members guard some clinics??

Make it legal and sin-tax the hell out of it. Keep in mind that in the last 30 years the only prisons built in CA have been private-owned prisons (capitalism at its finest) so their objective is to fill the beds...the higher the occupancy rates, the higher the profits. So, it won't be legal without a fight.

If ever action needed to be taken, it is now. The city needs funds for police and education so why not legalize marijuana and get taxes that contribute to the good of the communities in the US as well as those in Mexico.

Medical Cannabis users are not criminals, number one. We are productive tax paying members of everyday society. Wanting safe access to medicine is NOT insane. If it bothers you that cannabis is available in retail outlets, just put it into perspective, for christ sakes! you've got pharmacies on every corner distributing every color of upper, downer, opiate, alcohol and tobacco...What about liquor stores making a profit on just alcohol and tobacco, there really are one of those on every corner in every town all over America.
I honestly can't believe we're still having this debate, it's SILLY to spend billions of dollars in taxpayer money to send BLACK SUITED SWAT TEAMS against honest citizens. It's a PLANT!!!!! It will always grow, if you don't like that people make money on it, it's very simple as well, just grow it free everywhere! It is an effective, safe, and easy to produce medication. That is why the establishment fights so hard against it. If you could grow an antibiotic, pain reliever, cancer fighting, brain antioxidant producing, appetite stimulant, asthma reliving, glaucoma reliving, miracle drug in your own yard you would never need to use pharmaceuticals again. The establishment understands that and any media outlet that doesn't report that is lying and twisting reality. Understand the truth about cannabis people please! STOP TREATING CANNABIS LIKE A CRIME!

Well Said....thanks!

Los Angeles is the second largest City in the country, but surely doesn't have best in class representation. In fact the City Council, lead by Eric Garcetti is either incompetent or in bed with wealthy developers to the detriment of the local residents. Whether it be bill boards or building variances to go sky high when we are facing a drought, have no parking, and are gridlocked. This problem could have been easily resolved over two years ago, but all this overpaid City Council does is pat itself on the back for a doing a great job while its Citizens suffer. Just look at San Francisco and Oakland are doing--Its just plane common sense. You don't have to be the highest paid elected official to figure that out!

The PLUM committee led by Ed Reyes is on a first name with Developers and dismisses local residents opposing an over-sized project. The current City Attorney and the current City Attorney candidate and PLUM committee member Jack Weiss (and his colleagues) are at fault for this over growth of dispensaries. The same thing has been going on in Hollywood with liquor licenses. In fact one resident/activist coined the term Alchol-Hollywood because Hollywood is plastered with liquor licenses despite objections of the LAPD. The City continues approving liquor licenses in Council District 13 without objection by Garcetti's office even when located close to churches and schools.

I remember a year ago when Melrose had many many numerous yogurt businesses all opening up after the success of Pinkberry. Now they are all gone and it is business 101 that will show how these pot clubs will be doing the same.

Also, who the hell are these politicians calling criminals.

I am a software engineer who attended Cal Berkeley and I have PHD, thank you. I've smoked for over 20 years and run in marathons regularly.

The draconian Bush years are over, I think that we need to shed light on who the real criminals are (the politicians).
Obama excluded.

As for attracting a criminal element, if you have been to these clubs they charge top dollar, whereas if you have a 'connection' those people are actually alot cheaper. FYI

This investigative report is one-sided in its' scope and presentation. Why didn't Judy Muller speak to any dispensary operators, or the patients who frequent these establishments? Apparently we live in a society that loves to point fingers and play the 'blame' game. City officials will eventually come up with a set of regulations for the co-ops and this will be a good thing! And yes, the so-called "hardship" loophole should be closed. However, marijuana and the organizations that provide it to qualified patients are not the root of all your problems. Isn't this just another way for people like Paul Lerner to further his agenda? Why not campaign to make alcohol and liquor stores illegal? Oh wait, we tried that long ago and it didn't work. The minute "pot" kills hundreds of thousands of people each year (like booze does) I will be the first person to rally around the "prohibitionists." Until then, I will not be fooled by the police, prison unions, neighborhood alarmists and the other assorted (yet misguided) drug warriors who have a vested interest in keeping cannabis mired in the underground black market.

A truly excellant piece of journalism. Not really about marijuana, this is about the failure of local government to work at even a minimum level. It is time to recognize how badly flawed the political system is. Even people who want to do the right thing are completely frustrated in their attempts to do so by a system that cannot possibly work without all the players having the same opinion and political allies. That will never happen. Unless there is root change to the way the political system works, we will see this continual decline in the ability of government to function. I am depressed and dissapointed to the maximum possible extent with our system.
It is BROKEN.

This story suggests that the proliferation of so-called clinics represents a threat. Yet the story failed to offer statistics or even any examples of 'why' these clinics are a threat. This struck me as shoddy journalism.

leafalize! regulate! tax!

Thanks for bringing the marijuana issue up on your show. Marijuana, with all its surrounding myths- good and bad needs to be discussed ln large public arenas such as socal connected.

This was a very informative show on explaining the lack of regulations and oversight in Los Angeles with the Medical Marijuana Clinics. I have been wondering why and how so many MMCs have opened; some are even located near schools. I noticed some have security (armed with guns!) and others have an open door party scene. It is a mess. Unlike some of the comments regarding this story, I think it clearly does not condemn marijuana use under the right circumstances, nor take a stand on legalization. Thanks for doing some real journalism and informing the public on something that has been in the shadows for too long.

The legalization of Marijuana in California would relieve the state of it`s many financial woes,through tax revenue,eliminate huge amounts of crime ,including the disappearance of theMexican Cartel.Saving children fromcigarettes and alcohol would be easier just from the Reality of Acceptance of Reality. Our jails would also be relieved of the burden of rehabilitating criminals that they have created by making such a commonly used substance illegal.

Legalizing Cannabis has many pros and few cons. Alcohol is much more destructive physically, mentally and socially, and is legal. I mean we are not talking about health food heheh. What we are discussing is science, logic and facts, over falsehoods and a minority of the populations ideology.

Good show, thank you! My hope is complete legalization in the US. L.A., say yes!

I realize TV journalism is time-limited, and this is a complex issue. However, the presentation was offensively one-sided and snide. Maybe you think being snarky is what sells, but you'll never get any contributions from me as long as this is the crap you broadcast. These slanted programs continue to be KCET's big flaw. If you won't take the time to do it right, don't do it at all.

As noted above, the program was confused. If it was to be about legalization, do it about legalization. If it was to be about political incompetence, then bypass the legalization issues. Focus.

First there are far more TATTOO places on Melrose then there are Pot clubs. If you have kids you should be more concerned about your kids getting a bad Tat then blowing some smoke.

Secondly, there at tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of people are prozac, and other meds for depression.
These are chemically based PILLS that have been shoved down America's throat for too too long.

Along comes the 60's almost 50 years ago and reverse the cigarette and alcohol hold it had on our social beliefs. You want stats and numbers about Marijuana. Just look at the last 50 years of how our society has been shaped by a plant that was created in nature and helps people. Pot is safer than carrot juice.


Thanks for your report on medical marijuana dispensaries, which I viewed with great interest. That said, two major holes exist in your reporting. First, there's no mention of really WHAT THE CENTRAL PROBLEM IS with these dispensaries, other than that some of them might be operating illegally. Is there additional crime in these areas since the dispensaries have been in existence? If not, are there at least numerous instances to cite -- i.e., more than just one armed robbery outside a store, which one poster cited here?

Second, if your report is going to scrutinize marijuana dispensaries it would be of some value to contrast them with liquor stores, which are no doubt vastly more numerous (how much more so your report didn't state), and, many would argue, more obviously detrimental to the communities they "serve." Regardless of how one feels about marijuana and whether it should be il/legal, it's difficult to make much of a case against it in light of not only the legality of alcohol but of its often absurd level of availability.

Once again, to the extent that marijuana dispensaries pose a detriment to the communities they serve, your report failed to show this. For instance, they're close to schools. While I personally think this presents a problem, I was still left wondering while watching your report: So what is the impact on the school and its kids? Is there any evidence of such an impact? What do the dispensaries' owners think of their stores being located in proximity to schools? What's their response to the allegation that they're selling to kids? And again, beyond the schools, what's the impact on the community other than a peeved resident or two? What do the local police beat officers think of the dispensaries? And so forth....

Good points...well said!

It was a great segment! I think that it was about the lack of regulation of these dispensaries. Some open without any oversight, consideration of the impact on the community, no licensees, ect. I think that was what the report stressed. As for people looking for statistics on what the affects of marijuana dispensaries are on neighborhoods, has there really been a study done yet? this growth is so new and so fast and widespread, people are genuinely concerned. But there is really no research to support it either way. I think that the segment was reporting on these concerns.

I think that most people support marijuana usage for serious illnesses. But do we really have that many terminally ill people to need 500 of these dispensaries? Even if you support marijuana for recreational use, do you really need 500 dispensaries?
I think the whole issue to the segment, is that the LA City council is supposed to make some type of decision, but never did. Many other cities did, and they are still sitting on their hands.

Actually, the statement made in this article, about starbucks vs mm-dispensaries, is completely false. It is a lie fed to the media by the anti-drug government officials. The numbers do not add up to support their claim.
There are NOT more medical dispensaries than starbucks.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/18/BAM21469EK.DTL
http://blog.norml.org/tag/starbucks/

Legalize hemp for God's sake, it is so good for the Earth and our economy. Our constitution and Bill of Rights is written on it. Keep medical marijuana legal, it helps so many suffering people.

The 180 plus legal Cannabis clubs that were open and serving their collective members prior to November 2007 when the ICO went in place (licensed and recognized by the City of LA and pay sales Tax) can be found at www.215420.org

Not going to pay for Hemp either Kev?..... Condemn it all eh Kev?
Legalize-Tax-Regulate is a more adult, realistic & productive stance than your' isolationist, dated view of Marijuana & your lack of understanding of the validity, renewability of Hemp as a valuable, renewable resource don't you think Kev??

Dear President Obama and Glynis,,

So you are an elitist after all? I didn't think the rumors were true but your assumptions are off the mark. Despite your reservations, there are a lot of nice people living in Van Nuys and Arco's gasoline is reasonably priced. Like yourself, I'm a "highly functioning college grad" with two B.A.'s and two M.A's. who has been "contributing to society" these last 22 years as a public high school teacher for the LAUSD. Consequently, my otherwise "worthless generic generalities" may be based on empirical observation tempered by education and experience. What have you been doing lately other than misspelling words (payed? paid?)

As for hemp, despite its use as a smokescreen for marijuana's "legalization," I'm all for it as long it helps save the trees. But that's what hemp is, a smokescreen to mask an ulterior motive. In the meantime, I did not "condemn" anything. I simply called for honesty, responsibility, and accountability.

No hard feelings; it's important to be able to spar on these issues. I look forward to your replies.


Perhaps we're 'elitists' Kev if you extrapolate a view using your narrowed knee jerk views. Thank goodness you're a teacher?!! Hopefully not an English or commodities teacher anyway....

Wow there are lots of naive gullible people posting comments here. The real problem is that organized crime is behind many of these new clinics that have been opening by the hundreds in the past few months. Where do you think these operators get tens of thousands of dollars to pay six months rent in advance for highly visible storefronts? While paying rents double of the previous tenants? We don't want organized crime getting entrenched in our neighborhoods, that's the real issue. Wake up people! Just because you like to smoke pot doesn't mean that all of your drug dealers are angels.

Legalize it and tax the snot out of it. If caught driving while stoned, same penalty as drinking. It's basically ALREADY legal - any adult can go to a pot doctor, pay $150 and get a card. The world hasn't ended. People are not running naked and screaming down the dark streets, and organized crime is certainly NOT behind most of these clinics. People who smoke pot want ORGANIC, good quality weed. Grown in the US of A. Stop the insanity.

Residents are upset about marijuana facilities opening up and the city acts? Funny, we have illegal immigration totally out of control in this city and I have complained abaout the decay of our neighborhoods with no response. But the city is addressing zoning issues with marijuana clinics? Go figure. Will LA ever get it's priorities right?

Of course organized crime is connected to lots of these marijuana storefronts. You want evidence? The California Police Chiefs Association just published a White Paper on Marijuana Dispensaries, which you can find online if you Google it. Here is what they say:

"Marijuana dispensaries are commonly large money-making enterprises that will sell marijuana to most anyone who produces a physician’s written recommendation for its medical use. These recommendations can be had by paying unscrupulous physicians a fee and claiming to have most any malady, even headaches. While the dispensaries will claim to receive only donations, no marijuana will change hands without an exchange of money. These operations have been tied to organized criminal gangs, foster large grow operations, and are often multi-million-dollar profit centers. Because they are repositories of valuable marijuana crops and large amounts of cash, several operators of dispensaries have been attacked and murdered by armed robbers both at their storefronts and homes, and such places have been regularly burglarized. Drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas, increased noise, and robberies of customers
just outside dispensaries are also common ancillary byproducts of their operations. To repel store invasions, firearms are often kept on hand inside dispensaries, and firearms are used to hold up their proprietors. These dispensaries are either linked to large marijuana grow operations or encourage home grows by buying marijuana to dispense. And, just as destructive fires and unhealthful mold in residential neighborhoods are often the result of large indoor home grows designed to supply dispensaries, money laundering also naturally results from dispensaries’ likely unlawful operations."

You want that in YOUR neighborhood?

Wow, so nice of KCET to decide to take a hard line on clinics and marijuana. Nice to see that they are using my donation to promote their own political agenda. Well as someone who has donated to the station for over 20 years -- I will never donate again... furthermore, I have removed them from my living trust. I guess they don't need my millions. Word to KCET -- be very careful whose side you take on touchy political issues. Even better learn to report without bias or to at least report the other side of the story. I would strongly encourage anyone else who finds this type of reported distasteful to stop contributing as well. So long big bird!

Hello Jason,
Dear Jason,

I'm sorry you didn't care for our story on medicinal pot clinics. Other viewers thought it was excellent. But that's what happens when we tackle controversial subjects.

Also FYI .. I also couldn't find any record of your having been a member of KCET or any records of your leaving us "millions" in a living trust. But there is still time.

All the best,
Val Zavala
KCET

"There are now more medical marijuana clinics in the city of Los Angeles than there are Starbucks."

Why do foes of marijuana have to lie? The idea that there are more dispensaries than starbucks is idiotic.

There are more starbucks in Beverly Hills than there are dispensaries in California.

Dear SoCal Connected team,
first of all I would like to congratulate you on your very informative and brilliantly done programmes and the Emmy nominations - you deserve all 10 of them.
The controversial comments show that you have once again managed to present a topic that people have strong and opposing views about.
From a European perspective (with the obvious exception of the hyper-liberal Netherlands), it is difficult to understand that the City of LA has allowed such a great and ever increasing number of marijuana dispensaries to open in LA, apparently without any licensing requirements and orders worth mentioning. We are still talking about a drug and therefore its public distribution should be monitored very carefully. I really do understand the worries of the locals and their wish for zoning.
Here in Germany, getting marijuana for medicinal purposes is very strictly regulated and I am pretty happy with that arrangement. Nobody can convince me that there is so gigantic a medicinal demand for marijuana in LA as to warrant the staggering amount of marijuana dispensaries.
I am absolutely convinced that Prop 215 was passed in good faith and with the best of intentions in mind, but it is clearly being abused. More transparent regulations and above all tougher controls of the dispensaries and the way they operate are of paramount importance if the City of LA wants to retain control of the dispensaries and what they do.

Again, I would like to thank you for your continuing effort to provide the public with first-class reports on Southern California. Please give my regards to your whole team, especially to Angie Crouch, my dear Twitter friend. I have just tweeted her an idea of mine for a new report that you could do if you find the controversial topic as compelling as I do - I am a teacher myself.

Greetings and best wishes from Germany.

Matthias Rascher

The Netherlands is in NO WAY hyper liberal.

It is a country full of conservatives with a conservative government led by the same Christian Right government that instituted the policy some 35 years ago.

There is nothing liberal about this policy except as liberal is defined by non-prohibited access to cannabis.

There is no lack of demand, and supply, in Germany for cannabis, and the law as adjudicated leaves people free to use cannabis, though it may not be bought sold or produced.

Only when hyper-liberal is defined as not having total prohibition on cannabis is the Netherlands and more liberal than Germany.

There has been an ongoing debate in the media and parliament for the entirety of the existence of this policy, which is more than twice as old as the total prohibition it replaced whereas there has been only bones thrown to the people from the Green Party in Germany, who, when in the government coalition, quickly forgot about any kind of cannabis reform, and in the USA, not only do we not have a debate in the congress or the media, the ONDCP or drug czar's office, and the DEA's policy has been to stifle debate by not participating in it. ONDCP is charge with actively opposing any drug law reform.

As for LA, the situation is complicated by the fact that in 1994,5, and 6, when proposition 215 was being crafted, law enforcement and the political class refused to come to the table and give their input, which consisted of a consistent lobbing of NO bombs indiscriminately from afar. Now they complain about the confusion they caused to happen.

There was a bunch of small court cases awaiting judicial action during the period of time when the dispensaries proliferated, and all the while, through 2 attorneys general in California, groups like the LA city council were looking to the AG's office for legal guidance which was only forthcoming in 2009 when these court cases were adjudicated.

Taken together the court cases have show that Federal Law and California law stand side-by-side, as the California constitution states that if there is a conflict in law between the state and federal governments, California officials MUST comply with the California law.

The Federal government can come in and use their own manpower to enforce their laws, and the state cannot stop then. But states are NOT required to have conforming legislation with the Federal government on a given issue, say drug laws, and they do not have to do enforce Federal Laws, doing the bulk of the legwork in the war on drugs, aka arresting cannabis users.

That is how there can be so many dispensaries, dispensaries that are legal under California law.


Further, San Francisco is very small in both area and population, whereas Los Angeles is very large. When making a fair comparison, one must count all the dispensaries in the greater Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose Metropolitan area, which approximates the LA area's population.

There are 104 Starbucks stores in Los Angeles. (Go ahead and search this if you want to double-check.) There are now more than 800 marijuana stores in Los Angeles. So there are many times more marijuana stores than there are Starbucks.

Why do advocates of marijuana have to lie? If you want to promote marijuana, that's your right. But try to at least get your facts right.

In the meantime, community organizers are angry because we have seen our neighborhoods inundated with hundreds of marijuana stores catering to recreational users. (There are now at least 15 marijuana stores in Eagle Rock, at least 15 in the Pico-Fairfax area, at least 12 in the Melrose area, and dozens on Ventura Boulevard in the Valley.) Those of us who live in the neighborhoods and see people stumbling around stoned out of their minds (and then getting in their cars and driving away) are going to continue to fight to have basic regulations adopted by the City.

Thank you for this video that should be watched by all Californians and city representatives. Persons in leadership must separate personal beliefs from their job of protecting and serving communities. Further, politicians must move their focus from constant posturing for elections toward responsible governance. LA should run their representatives out of town on a rail for their negligence.

I was hoping that this report would give us some info as to how this abundance of marijuana for sale in legit shops has affected the community. Apparently we in LA are in a good position to come up with an objective evaluation beyond the anecdotal level. Maybe at some future date?

Will someone please tell me why marijuana is not sold in the same manner as other drugs...in pharmacies? And regulated, as well. Get rid of the blight on the streets. We need regulation!

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