Buzz Kill: Federal Warnings Hit Medical Pot Boom

Erbal

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From California to Arizona, Colorado to Maine, states across the country are legalizing the sale of medical marijuana. Recent warnings from U.S. attorneys, however, are making local governments rethink their plans.
Seth Bock stands in what's supposed to be one of Rhode Island's first medical marijuana stores. His group was going to install grow lights and a ventilation system this week, but not anymore.
"We can't really invest any money into the carpentry and the building process until we know that this will go on," he says.
But that could take a while. Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has put the program on hold indefinitely. The reason: a letter he received from the U.S. Attorneys' Office that said Rhode Island's so-called compassion centers could face federal raids, fines or criminal prosecution if they open.
"The U.S. attorney was very direct," governor's spokesman Michael Trainor says. "The governor believes that if we proceed on the present course, he'd be putting the compassion centers and people associated with compassion centers at great risk."
Rhode Island's letter is similar to those sent to at least eight other states with medical marijuana programs. Advocates believe the threats are a dramatic change from the Obama administration's original stance on medical marijuana. The Justice Department has refused to clarify its decision, saying only that its policy remains the same. It says the U.S. attorneys assigned to each state have "discretion" about how to enforce that policy.
The Ogden Memo
What the policy is, exactly, depends on how you interpret what's called "the Ogden memo."
"In 2009, the Department of Justice indicated that it would be a low priority to prosecute anyone who was complying with state medical marijuana laws," Jay Rorty of the American Civil Liberties Union explains. He says the 2009 memo from then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden made advocates think the federal government wouldn't interfere with state medical marijuana stores.

Marijuana buds for sale at the Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, Calif.
U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby from Washington state disagrees with that interpretation. "I think the ACLU takes that statement out of context," he says. According to him, the memo means the federal government won't go after patients who are growing their own marijuana — but retail stores were never part of that exception.
"We're talking, in some instances, about thousands of dollars a week being generated by these enterprises," he says.
It's a problem familiar to Colorado's Attorney General John Suthers. He says Colorado's more than 800 dispensaries are probably not what the federal government had in mind when it issued the Ogden memo.
"We've had just a plethora of retail dispensaries develop. We've got grow operations; we're now at 125,000 patients," he says. "And it's a joke."
That's why he asked his U.S. attorney for advice. Suthers guesses that the letters from other U.S. attorneys are an attempt to prevent more states from becoming like Colorado.
Meanwhile, States Have Patients
How each state interprets those letters is different. Some are going ahead with their programs despite the warnings. Others are in the same limbo as Rhode Island, where patients are getting frustrated.
"I don't know about you, but I feel mad. Do you?" Ellen Lenox Smith is a familiar face at the podium in the Rhode Island State House. She testifies in favor of dispensaries at every opportunity, with her wheelchair and service dog nearby. She says marijuana helps lessen the pain of her two incurable diseases. She grows her own plants, for now.
"I have to wonder, as I progress with my two conditions, where am I going to be headed? What happens when I can no longer grow? Where am I supposed to turn?" she says.
For now, the answer to Lenox Smith's question is unclear, as states weigh the new risks of opening dispensaries. Local governments are looking to a lawsuit filed by the governor of Arizona to clarify the federal government's stance on state marijuana programs. Meanwhile, the sale of the drug continues to follow a pattern of fits and starts across the country.


hxxp://www.npr.org/2011/05/28/136726993/buzz-kill-federal-warnings-hit-medical-pot-boom?sc=fb&cc=fp
 

Locked

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Someone (rhymes with Osama) needs to grow a set and do the right thing...the fact that alcohol and tobacco is legal and Marijuana is not only illegal but demonized is disgusting.

*This is not a political post....I voted for Our current president.*
 

babysnakess

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I think medical marijuana will make marijuana legal eventually and the feds won't be able to stop it. When I first started going in dispensaries I would see all these young people, and I asked a buddy whats up with this? He said some of them are probably doing what he did, going to see a doctor for pain for three visits. And then he asked his doctor to sign his paper work and they got into a knock down drag out argument, and he told his doctor I don't need you, just give me my medical records. Two hundred dollars later he has mmj. And a lot of the dispensaries are in it for the money.
 
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Roddy

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The dispensaries will be and are a big part of the problem imho, people making tons of money without paying taxes or whatever will certainly irk unc sam. It truly is disgraceful how some pretend to be compassionate while selling for outrageous prices. Worse yet are the so-called caregivers who are out to do nothing more than profit from their "patients". SICKENING! The stories I hear of patients having to buy each and every gram from a caregiver...wow, might as well go to the dispensaries because you're being taken! My patients get as much as they need....and more in some cases!

When people stop profiting from this and start using it as it's meant, the whole system will work much better! And yes, I am all for med mj, but things are gonna have to change, that's for sure!
 

Erbal

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Roddy said:
The dispensaries will be and are a big part of the problem imho, people making tons of money without paying taxes or whatever will certainly irk unc sam.
I agree that the Uncle Sam, by which I really mean the Federal Reserve, hates missing out on taxable dollars, but the people that are stopping the taxation of MMJ are the people against MMJ. If MMJ was taxed and all of a sudden states started showing income instead of deficits, MMJ would be here to stay permanently.
 
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Roddy

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Charging a fortune for something they sell in the name of compassion...and I bet they also complain about the big pharm crooks!
 

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There will always be those who only look out for themselves and take full advantage of the system in place. Where ever there is money to be made you will have greedy bastards. We the voters really need to use our votes wisely and put people into office that are actually for the cause of legalization and not just lining their pockets with money from big business disguised as a compassionate dispensary. I wonder just how interested the Feds wld be in all of this if there was not a bunch of money being made by people. I mean it is kind of like asking them to turn a blind eye to drug dealing with a big wink wink of the eye that it is a compassionate medical thing. What wld the Feds stance be if these dispensaries were pretty much giving away the meds to people with cards?
 
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Roddy

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IDK, but it would surely look better than people profiting while thumbing their noses at the feds.....

I give mine away, I am happy to help those who need the help. IF I ever break even, I will feel lucky, if I ever turn a profit, it'll be donated to charity! I told my patients that, when I get things on track completely, I will up each of their monthly amount as I can so none will have to buy again! As long as they don't start selling, life is golden!
 

NorCalHal

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Too late...cat's outta the bag folks.
Compassion my butt......It's all about full legalization and making MJ an Industry. If you believe that MJ should only be for the sick and dieing, then give your herb away.
I'm here to tell you folks, either jump on the bandwagon or miss out completely on a whole new Industry that will allow you to make a living on your "Passion". We NEED more high end growers, that is for sure, as the market is allways flooded with poorly grown swag.

All this talk about "profiteering" makes me laugh. Most folks do not understand what it takes to grow good herb in quantities enough to supply the "sick and dieing" at even 1 club, let alone multiple.
Again, it is not going away, and in fact it will get worse. You can sit back and whine all day, it will stop nothing. The Industry NEEDS folks with passion, and yes, I mean US STONERS, because Big Pharma IS coming, and sooner then you think. They allready have FDA ready to approve them.

GW Pharmaceuticals today announces the initiation of the Phase III clinical trials programme of Sativex in the treatment of pain in patients with advanced cancer, who experience inadequate analgesia during optimized chronic opioid therapy," GW said in a statement. "This indication represents the initial target indication for Sativex in the United States

Who is crying now? It is going to happen,,,,period. Wake up and take control before we lose control.
 
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Roddy

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So, profit more from those who should be able to get their plants....sounds about right!

Since it's happening, to **** with it, do as the crooks?? No THANKS, I'll sleep better at night!

I think anyone who grows this stuff knows what just one plant will produce, and how much it costs to produce it! For every patient, there's a grower waiting to make a buck, I hope you're not believing otherwise! Around here, at least....maybe we should export some growers your way?
 

Erbal

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This is a pretty hot topic to debate about, so I want to tell you what I have seen. I have seen dispensaries out in the world to make a buck and then I have seen dispensaries who make a buck off the 23 y/o with anxiety and give actual cancer patients free MMJ. If I had to choose between which one I would like to see more prevalent, it would be the latter of the two.

Hamster Lewis said:
There will always be those who only look out for themselves and take full advantage of the system in place.
Hamster is pretty close to the truth there. I think it should read, "There will always be those who look out for themselves and take full advantage of any system in place." This goes for more than just MMJ. Shady business tactics take place all the time in the corporate sector, questionable tactics that infringe on our rights are used by the Fed, and the Federal Reserve enslaves the US with a never ending debt. It is certainly not localized with the MMJ issue, it is a cancerous problem amongst humanity.

Honestly, I am down for Mr. X making a buck or two. I mean, they put the time and effort into running a dispensary and supplying good/safe MMJ. It takes money to start and run a business and people should be getting paid to run it. However, I do believe that they should be regulated and taxed like any other business in todays economy with some 'tax incentives' being free MMJ to extremely ill patients with those who are unable to afford the medication coming first before those with greater income.

I am down for MJ being street legal. ****, I am even down with free MMJ, but if everyone was getting their stash for no cash, who would be paying for the nutes, lights, etc? Not everyone is as fortunate as others and are able to soak up those costs to hand out free herb.
 

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Published March 18, 2009 in the New York Times.....

First sentence of the article....
"Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday outlined a shift in the enforcement of federal drug laws, saying the administration would effectively end the Bush administration’s frequent raids on distributors of medical marijuana."

Just one more lie from a politician, they never end.

-SSF-
 

NorCalHal

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Roddy said:
So, profit more from those who should be able to get their plants....sounds about right!
you got me on this one...? What?

Roddy said:
Since it's happening, to **** with it, do as the crooks?? No THANKS, I'll sleep better at night!

I think anyone who grows this stuff knows what just one plant will produce, and how much it costs to produce it! For every patient, there's a grower waiting to make a buck, I hope you're not believing otherwise! Around here, at least....maybe we should export some growers your way?

I sleep like a baby at night, let me tell you. What can 1 plant produce? from nothing to 9 lbs....quite a range.

So, why doesn't the "patient" just grow his/her own?? Any legal MMJ patient can, but most don't.

Wake up my friend. It is not going to end. Noone is going to give thier entire harvest away, not with production costs.
Of COURSE folks are making a buck...duh. You all don't get it. I would fair to say that most of us here have at one time or another stated that they would LOVE to grow weed for a living. Well, now is the time. It is possible and Legal if you follow your State guidlelines, at least here in Cali.

You are allowed to compensate yourself for your "Time and efforts". If you grow correctly and on a larger scale, it WILL be a full time job.

So now that there is a legitimate opportunity to make a living growing herb, folks flip out and say "give it away"...lol Maybe you havn't noticed the lack of work out there in the real world, MMJ has been a saving grace for MANY folks who are able to put food on thier tables without goverment help. At the same time they are providing herb to folks who would otherwise go without.

Don't hate on the growers supplying the clubs my friend, thank them.
 

NorCalHal

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AHHH...I just realized that Roddy is from MI. Now I get it. You boys are about 10 years behind in the game called MMJ. It will take 10 years to get the system "cleaned up" and shoddy Dispensary operators out. Believe Uncle Sam WILL be auditing Dispensaries in your State and that will cause the shady operators to close, while the folks who are playing by the rules will continue on.
Most all folks out here pay taxes on revenue gained from MMJ, including myself.
 

NorCalHal

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Roddy said:
The dispensaries will be and are a big part of the problem imho, people making tons of money without paying taxes or whatever will certainly irk unc sam. It truly is disgraceful how some pretend to be compassionate while selling for outrageous prices. Worse yet are the so-called caregivers who are out to do nothing more than profit from their "patients". SICKENING! The stories I hear of patients having to buy each and every gram from a caregiver...wow, might as well go to the dispensaries because you're being taken! My patients get as much as they need....and more in some cases!

When people stop profiting from this and start using it as it's meant, the whole system will work much better! And yes, I am all for med mj, but things are gonna have to change, that's for sure!
So you hate dispensaries......

Roddy said:
This means smaller plants, but large harvests which will supply my 5 patients and myself while also affording a few spare oz's to sell to a few dispensaries I have already talked with and are waiting for my overages! This means I can cover my costs, allowing me to provide for my patients without breaking my bank!!!

Sounds a little hypocritical my friend.
 

niteshft

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I was selling to a vet with PTSD for cheep, just wanting to get a % of my investment back like electrical costs. I'm disabled so just barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. He called me the other day for a refill and heard someone in the background, he then doubled what he wanted. I told him the price was going up since it appears he's supplying someone else and probably recreationally. It pissed me off that he was taking advantage of my generosity and doing this behind my back. I've given him several ozs at no cost in the past but that is over with now.
 

Mutt

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I dunno about dispensaries anymore...thinkin would rather it remain illegal in my state...**** of a lot cheaper (70/ 1/8oz :holysheep:)
 

Hick

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CO the prices, both retail and wholesale, have dropped about 50% since the dispensary 'boom'. Two years ago, I saw most mmj @ disp' going for $15-$25 p/g. Top quality wholesale, to the clinics, $4-$5k.
Today, $7--15 g, and clinics are now, by law, required to grow/produce their own product. They must have 'caregiver' status for enough patients to cover the number of plants they grow. "No" sales to clinics. (I know growers that were holding out for $4500 p/lb. last year, that are now "trying" to get $2500)
Clinics are being required to film/document EVERYTHING, from 'seed to sales'. Even transport from grow to outlet, will be documented. Carrier, lic. plate #, vehicle description, time and date, amount left with, amount received. Every sale is filmed/documented.
Clinics can have multiple grow locations, but each location requires a 'permit' ($1500 I believe) and is subject to state inspections. Substantial "overhead", that is meant to drive the illegitimate out of business, but still pushing 'cost' up. :mad:
 

NorCalHal

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Same gig....Dispensaries have really brought down prices....not raised them.
 

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