It was recently reported that Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley will prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries for over-the-counter sales of marijuana. In Los Angeles County, patients with a doctor’s recommendation can go to a medical marijuana dispensary to purchase their medication.
The number of those purchasing cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation has steadily risen, increasing demand. With the increase in demand, the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles has grown as well. District Attorney Cooley, along with City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, say they will target the nearly 800 dispensaries in Los Angeles that have opened since 2007. According to Cooley, there are more dispensaries in Los Angeles than the rest of the United States.
Advocates of medical marijuana say that prosecutors are misinterpreting the law, and that their actions will likely prevent sick patients from receiving needed medicinal care. Additionally, opponents to the prosecution of medical marijuana dispensaries argue that the District Attorney and City Attorneys should focus on the prosecution of serious and violent offenses, rather than focusing on dispensaries that provide medication to legitimate patients. Trutanich alleges that the dispensaries draw a criminal element, and at least one murder and nearly 200 robberies took place near a dispensary last year.
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