Monday, June 28, 2010

States, Communities Struggling With Medical Marijuana Regulations

Whether it's the LAPD attempting to close 400 of the city's marijuana dispensaries or Montana adding nearly 20 percent more card-carrying medical marijuana users just last month, states and municipalities are struggling this summer with legislating about medical pot.

Some 15 states have passed laws that legalize medical marijuana in some form. For most of them, dispensing the drug remained a small and tentative program until October of last year. That was when the Obama administration decided to take a hands-off approach to state operations.

"It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana," Attorney General Eric Holder said then, adding all bets were off with trafficking across state "behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal."

The stance assumed the various state laws were ready to actually regulate the industry. But attitudes and rules vary greatly state-by-state and county-by-county in Patchwork Nation. What has ensued is a flood of new patients and dispensaries, the corresponding complaints against them, a few hurry-up efforts to modify the laws and, in a few isolated cases, violence against marijuana stores.

Read more at the PBS NewsHour...

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