The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban medical cannabis patients’ cooperatives and collectives yesterday. Today we stand at a crossroads. We can watch as the Los Angeles Police Department closes one patients’ association after another, or we can work together to turn the tide in Los Angeles. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s leading patients’ advocacy organization, needs your help to repeal this ban and protect safe access to medical cannabis in Los Angeles. Can we count on you?
We are going to use every arrow in our quiver to overturn this ban –a voter referendum repealing the ban, a campaign for a new ordinance regulating safe access, any viable litigation, and escalating grassroots pressure (possibly including non-violent civil disobedience). We need your participation and support to make it happen. Can you make a special contribution of $35, $50, $100, or whatever you can afford to support ASA’s effort to repeal the ban on medical cannabis in Los Angeles http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=pJWX10S6a5v7UQGMiyN%2BTEKdKNvtAIQ3
The City Council approved a separate motion measure yesterday instructing staff to write an ordinance that allows for a limited number of tightly-regulated facilities, but the new ordinance will take months to work its way through City Hall and may never be adopted. The ban, which applies to all patients’ associations with four or more members, will take effect in approximately thirty days. Mayor Villaraigosa has indicated he will sign the measure.
The decision for an immediate ban and a possible ordinance is unfortunate. Patients and other community members deserve the proven benefits of regulation right now. Research conducted by ASA ( http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=RCFFTzNHhhzSpjuSrAWC1UKdKNvtAIQ3) shows that sensible regulations preserve access for legal medical cannabis patients, while reducing crime and complaints around cooperatives and collectives. And an independent report published earlier this year in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (Kepple and Freisthler) says that “There [are] no observed cross-sectional associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates…” In other words, a high density of cooperatives and collectives does not necessarily cause crime.
Research is on our side, but politics are working against us. The City Council banned medical cannabis in response to pressure from the City Attorney, law enforcement, and neighborhood groups. ASA is uniquely poised to do the community, media, and government relations work necessary to repeal the ban – but we need your help to make it happen. We can mount a massive signature gathering campaign for a voter referendum, print hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature, and devote full-time staff attention to this effort… if we have the resources. Please take a minute right now to make a generous one-time or recurring monthly donation to make it possible. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=I3r8Dyi%2BtJL%2F9YQ8I2sEV0KdKNvtAIQ3
Do not be discouraged by yesterday’s vote. The battle for safe and legal access to medical cannabis is a long one, and with your help and support, this can be just a temporary setback on the path to a workable ordinance in Los Angeles. ASA and allies have already written a voter referendum to repeal the ban, and we have plans for a grassroots campaign to get it approved. ASA is committed to this fight on the long term. I know you are, too.
Keep an eye on this mailing list and ASA’s Discussion Forums for breaking news about the voter referendum to repeal the ban and other news. And mark your calendars for two important dates:
1. Join me for a community conference to talk about the campaign to repeal the ban this Friday, July 27, at 5:00 PM. Dial (832) 431-3335 and enter access code 1618568 to join the call.
2. The first “Repeal the Ban LA” community action meeting for the referendum will be on Saturday, August 18, at 1:00 PM. Join us in the Community Room (#152) at the West Hollywood Gateway Mall located at 7100 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046.
Thank you for your support and participation so far. We are going to need your continued support to beat this ban and finally adopt sensible regulations in Los Angeles. Please make a one-time or monthly contribution to support this effort today.