In Los Angeles County, where there are reportedly more pot dispensaries than Starbucks, the District Attorney doubts that the state law really permits storefront sales and threatens prosecution. I share his doubts; on the other hand, an opinion by the California Attorney General raises enough doubt so I can’t see how a prosecution could get past the void-for-vagueness test, especially when the state has been collecting sale s tax from some dispensaries. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to proceed by seeking injunctions rather than by issuing indictments? That way the question of what the law is can be resolved without the overlay of a criminal prosecution.
In other states, the situation is even more confused. It seems as if the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department need to get their signals straight.
It seems clear to me that true consumer co-ops, with employees rather than owners, would be a better model that for-profit retailers, and that if retail sale is allowed then the retailers ought to produce their own product rather than buying it from (strictly illegal) growers, and ought to be required to test it for chemical content and share that information with their consumer-members. The deeper problem of physicians writing “recommendations” to all comers is harder to deal with.
The only reasonable solution in terms of making cannabis available to actual patients is to stop stalling medical research, get a strain or blend of whole cannabis with a reproducible chemical profile through the usual FDA new drug approval process, and make whole cannabis a medicine like other medicines, available by prescription rather than “recommendation.”
I wouldn’t oppose making cannabis available on the same terms for non-medical use; but in most cases honesty is preferable to subterfuge.