What is it about medical marijuana that makes it such a volatile topic? Why are the same states that originally decriminalized the sale of cannabis to doctor approved patients now trying to impose so many restrictions? For supporters of full-scale legalization and the businesses which sell the product, there seems to be a constant dance between what is allowed and what isn’t.Published here tripleloud.ca.
After California decriminalized the sale of medical marijuana nearly 800 storefronts opened under the guise of becoming dispensaries. In May of 2010 the owners of 439 of them were told to close by June 7 in order to comply with ordinances. Distance from places in which children congregate, such as schools and parks as well as registration deadlines that were exceeded were cited as reasons for the closures.
The next step involved a citywide lottery for the remaining dispensaries. Only collectives and dispensaries which had been in operation from Sept. 14, 2007 and have retained at least one original owner qualified for the lottery. LA has since informed the owners of 140 other stores they must close their doors as well, leaving the city 100 dispensaries. How did things change so dramatically, even as California debates collecting sales tax from medical marijuana dispensaries and growing cooperatives?
New Mexico: No Measure Yet
Governor Susana Martinez – R, made an issue of repealing the medical marijuana legislation in New Mexico, and has tried to bring a measure to the voters this year to do so. This position follows party lines. However, Rep. James Smith – R, the bill’s sponsor pulled the bill, replacing it with House Memorial 53 for a Department of Health impact study of medical marijuana acts. For now residents of New Mexico will still be able to obtain medical marijuana legally.
Even though medical marijuana dispensaries have been decriminalized, it hasn’t brought them any closer to a solution regarding their business transactions. Unless the dispensary is willing to function on a “cash only” basis, it may have difficulty obtaining needed commercial accounts, merchant accounts and insurance coverage. Creatively worded applications citing the sale of “supplements” and “health care accessories” are being red flagged.