Wednesday, November 20

Los Angeles DA to prosecute dispensaries that sell over-the-counter medical marijuana for profit


Medical marijuana distribution centers operating for profit will face litigation, prosecutor's office says

Dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles that sell medical marijuana over-the-counter for profit will be prosecuted, said Sandi Gibbons, public information officer for District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Gibbons said the dispensaries are not operating legally and will be treated on a case-by-case basis, pending investigation as to which are profiting from over-the-counter sales.

Cooley announced on Thursday that the dispensaries would face litigation, according to the Associated Press.

A Supreme Court ruling in May contributed to the distinction that profitable sales of medical marijuana are illegal. The decision clarified CA Proposition 215, which was passed in 1996 and allows for compassionate use of marijuana, Gibbons said. A state law allows for collective growing of marijuana.

“What the law does is to provide compassionate use of marijuana for those very ill people and they must grow it, cultivate and use it, or form a collective,” she said.

There are more than 900 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County, four of which are located in Westwood.

Susan Leahy, manager of the Westwood Farmacy, said she is concerned the state will lose a lot of revenue by shutting down these dispensaries which generally pay taxes.

“We are allowed to charge money to pay the rent and pay the salaries,” she said.

It is unclear at this time whether or not the other Westwood dispensaries will be closed. The owners of the other three dispensaries could not be reached for comment.

Leahy said she is unsure whether the Farmacy will be forced to halt its marijuana sales. The Farmacy itself is a not-for-profit business and is licensed by both the city and the state of California, she said.

According to the AP, more than 100 advocates of medical marijuana protested while Cooley made the announcement.

Compiled by Carolyn McGough and Neha Jaganathan, Bruin senior staff

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