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Don Duncan, ASA to LA City Council: Choosing to turn your back on patients


Choosing to turn your back on patients
by Don Duncan, November 23, 2011

Good morning Council members. My name is Don Duncan. I’m the California Director of Americans for Safe Access and I’m here today to ask you to reject calls for a ban on medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives in the city of Los Angeles.

We’ve worked for many years and many hours to perfect regulations to try to do something right. And now there’s a new proposal that would turn its back on patients, and on progress of those efforts — and it’s the wrong choice. We know, through research and experience, that sensible regulations reduce crime and reduce complaints. So choosing instead to ban collectives and cooperatives turns our back on all of that potential benefit for our community. I want to urge you to reject that.

You’ve been told by the city attorney’s office that the decision in Pack v. Long Beach requires you to ban medical marijuana cooperatives and collectives. That is false.

The Pack decision, if it is upheld by the California Supreme Court, may limit your ability to authorize activity that’s illegal under federal law, but in no way does it forbid you from adopting regulations that govern that kind of activity. You can still have location restrictions. You can still have restrictions on hours of operation and the other things that make up the meat and potatos of our existing ordinance.

And so, you do not have to abandon the path that we’ve already set down upon. You can have an ordinance that regulates medical cannabis activity without banning it. That’s what we’ve been pushing for for almost all these years, all the way back to 2005.

So if this city council opts for a ban on medical cannabis in the city, it’s not because you’re being forced into that position. It’s because you choose it.

That means you’re choosing to turn your back on legal patients. You’re choosing to turn your back on the collectives that have worked in good faith to comply with the city and to help you adopt an ordinance.

It’s unfortunate it’s taken us that long. It’s unfortunate that the council could not come to an agreement sooner. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, don’t punish the good guys because of a few bad guys. Stand by your guns. Regulate medical cannabis in the city and let the patients and the community at large reap the benefit of that regulation.

Thank you.

[time index 38:00 – 40:10]

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