Reefer. Grass. Weed. Mary Jane. Call it what you will, it's available at hundreds of marijuana dispensaries throughout Los Angeles County. However, the high times could soon be over for these operators as the L.A. County District Attorney says the dispensaries are operating illegally and will be targeted for prosecution.
D.A. Steve Cooley said that he and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich believe over-the-counter sales are illegal. Cooley says his office is already preparing to prosecute a Culver City dispensary called Organica.
Hundreds of dispensaries operate under a 1996 voter initiative that allowed medical marijuana use, and a state law that allows for collective growing of marijuana. But based on a state Supreme Court decision last year, Cooley has concluded that over-the-counter sales are illegal. Most if not all of the dispensaries in the state operate on that basis.
Widespread criminal prosecutions could deal a sharp blow to the medical marijuana movement in California, where advocates have argued that access to the drug has helped many cancer patients and others manage pain, nausea and other health issues.
Medical marijuana advocates fear crime could rise if medical marijuana dispensaries need to go underground.