Last week was a significant one for the medical cannabis industry in Los Angeles.
A group consisting of MMJ supporters, advocates and professionals submitted 50,000 signatures backing a petition to overturn a recently passed ban on dispensaries. The ban was supposed to go into effect this Thursday but will be delayed at least until local officials finish verifying the signatures. If 27,425 signatures are deemed valid, the Los Angeles City Council must either repeal the ban or put the issue to voters in the March 5 election (meaning the ban would be on hold until that time).
In the best-case scenario, the ban will be overturned or rescinded, allowing all existing dispensaries to remain open. In the worst-case scenario, the MMJ group will fail to meet the valid-signature threshold and the ban will go into effect later this month – which will at least buy dispensary owners a little bit of time as other efforts, such as lawsuits, continue to play out.
This is a huge shot in the arm for the MMJ community, as it shows how powerful the industry can be when it unites to mount a coordinated bid to force political change.
Thankfully, we were mistaken in how this would all play out. In other cities, the MMJ industry has been unsuccessful in fighting bans, either because the local cannabis community is too fragmented and unorganized or because it simply didn’t have adequate resources. The fact that medical marijuana supporters and professionals in Los Angeles were able to respond quickly and collect 50,000 signatures in just nine days is impressive.
Also last week, we featured a piece examining the difficult decision medical marijuana professionals face when voting in the presidential election. Typically, industries have a clear-cut choice and can unequivocally back a candidate whose views, policies and history would benefit the business.
But that’s not the case this year for the MMJ industry. The candidate with the most favorable stance on medical marijuana – Libertarian Gary Johnson – has the least chance of winning. The remaining candidates – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – are a crapshoot, with one (Obama) allowing the industry to burgeon in the U.S. but then cracking down on it severely and the other having gone on the record as saying he is opposed to medical marijuana in general.
Other top stories from MMJ Business Daily last week: