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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Schipske responds to Fed announcement about Medical Marijuana

English: Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis s...
English: Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop at 970 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For Immediate Release

Schipske Says “Now that feds have made it clear they will not stand in way of States which have made medical marijuana legal – Long Beach needs to move forward”

Long Beach, CA – August 29, 2013 – In response to US Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Obama Administration would not stand in the way of states where voters have supported legalizing marijuana either for medical or recreational use as long as those states maintain strict rules involving the distribution of the drug, Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske issued the following statement:
“The City of Long Beach has rightfully been concerned that even though State law allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the federal government continued to arrest and prosecute those who grew and dispensed it. The release of a memorandum by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole to US Attorneys, today, outlines the position of the US Department of Justice which supports those jurisdictions that have legalized the use of marijuana and have put into place ‘strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale and possession of marijuana.’
The memo further acknowledges that is not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on seriously ill individuals, or on their individual caregivers and draws the distinction between the seriously ill and their care givers on one hand, and large-scale, for profit commercial enterprises on the other. The latter will continue to be the target of federal prosecutors if it is determined that these operations violate any of the following enforcement priorities of the federal government:
  • ·        Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors;
  • ·        Preventing the revenue from the sale of marijuana going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;
  • ·        Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property;
  • ·        Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;
  • ·        Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
  • ·        Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana;
  • ·        Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use; and
  • ·        Preventing the growing of marijuana and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands.

“What is most instructive to the City of Long Beach is the following statement from US DOJ:

               ‘In jurisdictions that have enacted laws legalizing marijuana in some form and that have also implemented strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale and possession of marijuana, conduct in compliance with those laws and regulations is less likely to threaten the federal priorities set forth above. Indeed a robust system may affirmatively address those priorities by, for example, implementing effective measures to prevent diversion of marijuana outside of the regulated system and to other states, prohibiting access to marijuana by minors and replacing an illicit marijuana trade that funds criminal enterprises with a tightly regulated market in which revenues are tracked and accounted for.’

It is now time for the City of Long Beach to re-visit the issue of how the Compassionate Use Act can be implemented in the city through a strong and effective regulatory and enforcement system that protects the seriously ill and their care givers while at the same time complies with the federal priorities to prevent criminal enterprises.”

Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske represents the Fifth Council District in Long Beach. She is a Registered Nurse Practitioner and attorney at law.

The US DOJ memo can be viewed at this link: 
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