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Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Musings

Medical Marijuana collectives could receive 'limited immunity' if ballot initiative passes in May 21, 2013 General Election.

From left to right:  Brennan Thicke, Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance Steering Committee Member and Founding Member of Stop the Ban LA, Don Duncan Co-founder of Americans for Safe Access, Yamileth Bolanos, Founder and President of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and Matt O'Malley of  UFCW Local 770. 
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich's so-called 'Gentle Ban' on Medical Marijuana was stomped out of City Council when it looked like a ballot initiative to repeal Trutanich's ban would qualify for the March primary. Trutanich is understood to have been concerned that the initiative would be a de facto referendum on his poor performance as City Attorney generally, and in particular, a pay back for his betrayal of the Medical Marijuana community who supported his candidacy in 2009 when he promised to support them.

Although the death of Trutanich's so-called 'Gentle Ban' removed the immediate threat of closure to LA's legitimately run Medical Marijuana dispensaries, there remained the awful mess resulting from  Trutanich's three failed attempts to regulate Medical Marijuana. Rather than leave it to Trutanich to try to write a fourth ordinance, on December 7, 2012, at 9:00 AM, the Committee to Protect Patients and Neighborhoods (CPPN) took matters into their own hands and delivered over 72,000 signatures calling for a voter initiative to the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office.

This from a press release from CPPN:

CPPN represents patients, caregivers, and dispensary employees and was created by a coalition of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance (GLACA), Americans for Safe Access-LA (ASA), and UFCW Local 770. If certified sufficient by the Clerk’s office, an initiative will be placed on the May 21, 2013 Los Angeles General Election Ballot to create an ordinance granting a “limited immunity” to the city’s original, registered medical cannabis collectives. To be certified sufficient, the Committee must submit 41,138 valid signatures. "When the City repealed the ban, it sent a powerful message to patients. The next step needs to be an ordinance that ensures real safe access," said Linda Leek, a two-time cancer survivor who suffers from multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia.

Leek is one of the initiative's proponents The City of Los Angeles is working on its own version of a Limited Immunity Ordinance, but five months have passed since the City’s ban was overturned, and the proposed ordinance still has not come to the Council for a vote. “We cannot abandon those who are sick, to a political process that appears to be stalled by opponents of safe access. We will continue to work with the City in the hopes of overcoming this impasse, but it has been nearly half a year since the ban was overturned. We need to ensure patients have the access mandated by state law and that all citizens have the protection an ordinance provides,” remarked Yami Bolanos, President of GLACA. "Patients understand that the proposed City ordinance needs to do more to ensure safe access," said William Rusbosin, an initiative proponent and patient. “We are filing the initiative petition signatures today to make sure Los Angeles does right by the people who depend on this medication.” 

 “While the City’s proposed ordinance represents movement by the city towards ensuring safe access for patients, it still remains far from being an effectual ordinance which protects our communities and enables the ill to receive their needed medication. Our plan will help provide safe access to needy patients while dramatically reducing the number of clinics and significantly increasing oversight and transparency of their operation. The city plan isn't guaranteed to accomplish that, and we need to keep working until we can reach complete agreement, or we’ll take our vision to Los Angeles voters next May," said Mr. Icaza, President of UFCW Local 770.

The text of CPPN's Ballot initiative can be viewed here:
Limited Immunity Initiative for Medical Marijuana Collectives

CPPN's move in presenting their own ballot initiative is likely to be seen as yet another example of Trutanich's failure as City Attorney to promulgate legislation in line with the wishes of the City Council as well as the public. Recently, Councilmember Paul Krekorian criticized Trutanich for delays in producing legislation in response to motions passed by the Council.

Krekorian has sought permission to use outside counsel to draft legislation to put an 'end run' on Trutanich's obstruction and obfuscation. One example of the way Trutanich has failed the City Council is the way he has handled the ACE Program. As a result of the way Trutanich changed the original intent of the ACE Program and morphed it into a perceived power grab rife with civil rights violations, the ACE Program has been stalled for more than two years because of grave concerns over the way Trutanich has 'hijacked' the plan to streamline and simplify code enforcement.



Concerns about the ACE Program were first raised when Trutanich appeared on the Kevin James Show and claimed the ACE Program was his idea. In fact it was based programs already existing in San Diego and Santa Monica and had been the brainchild of Councilmember Paul Koretz' Chief of Staff.

Polling figures in City Attorney race expected to  trouble 'frontrunners'

Rumors suggest that polling on candidates for Los Angeles City Attorney are expected to be released this week. The results may give frontrunners a shock - while they consider themselves frontrunners, prospective voters don't see them the same way.

It is widely known that failed DA candidate Carmen Trutanich considers himself a frontrunner, just as he did in the 2012 DA race. But while voters recognize his name, they may recognize it for all the wrong reasons. 'Everyone recognizes the name Charles Manson, but who would vote for him?' may well be the way polling data confirms the impending end of the Trutanich era.

Expect a press release from one of the candidates for City Attorney later this week.

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