LAPD Chief: If Weed Is So Helpful, Why Not Regulate It?

Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton called state policies regulating the sale of pot as medicine "Looney Tunes," even though the Obama administration directed federal agents to stop raids in states where medical marijuana is legal.

"I think that the policy of the federal government at this time is unfortunate. I think the policy of this state is Looney Tunes," Bratton said Wednesday at a Parker Center news conference.

Thirteen years ago, California voters approved Proposition 215, which made it legal for people with a recommendation from a doctor to grow, smoke and possess certain amounts of the normally illegal weed.

In 2003, Senate Bill 420 was signed into law, setting up system for issuing ID cards to those with "prescriptions" for pot, but there have been disputes over how to do that.

"They pass a law, then they have no regulations as to how to enforce the darn thing and, as a result, we have hundreds of these locations selling drugs to every Tom, Dick and Harry," Bratton said.

The chief urged the Los Angeles City Council to speed up the process of regulating the clinics. In September 2007, the city passed a temporary ban on new dispensaries to give police and planning officials time to draft permanent regulations for the facilities.

"While I fully support its use for medicinal purposes, why don't we regulate it like we do Lipitor or Viagra?" Bratton said. "You can't buy those two without getting it through a legitimate pharmacy. If this drug is so important and so helpful, why is it not regulated like every other drug?"


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Thirteen states now have laws providing for the legal use of medical marijuana.

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