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Attorney General Jerry Brown Won't Rule On Pot

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Medical marijuana patients, dispensary owners and city officials seeking clarity on the legality of dispensaries won't get the definitive answers they're seeking after word Wednesday that California Attorney General Jerry Brown will not issue an opinion on the matter.

Many in the Coachella Valley and across the state were anticipating the opinion, originally expected by the end of summer, in the hopes that it would contain clearer legal guidelines for this confusing and controversial issue.

State law allows medical use of marijuana for patients with a doctor's letter of recommendation but neither permits nor bans dispensaries. Federal law bans all use or sale of the drug.

"It's disappointing to know people keep backpedaling, and it never gets resolved," said Stacy Hochanadel, owner of CannaHelp, a dispensary in Palm Desert.

Earlier this year, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office charged Hochanadel and two of his managers, John Bednar and James Campbell, with three felony counts each of possessing and selling marijuana and operating a dispensary.

Last month, the case was continued in anticipation of the attorney general's opinion.

Deputy Attorney General Marc J. Nolan said it is cases like Hochanadel's, one of several medical marijuana cases around the state, that led to the decision to cancel the opinion.

"We have a longstanding policy to not issue legal opinions if the same legal opinions are being decided in court," Nolan said. "We do not want to be perceived as trying to influence litigation."

But without clarity , cities such as Palm Springs, which has two operating dispensaries, are in legal limbo. "We had hoped we were going to get an opinion that would better put us into a position where we could move (on) the legality of dispensaries," said City Attorney Doug Holland.

The city has a dispensary moratorium in place. But city leaders held off on an ordinance allowing dispensaries in anticipation of Brown's opinion.

Still, the city has taken no action against Community Caregivers, which opened earlier this year, and the Collective Apothecary of Palm Springs, a recently opened dispensary, both located on Palm Canyon Drive.

Staff at each dispensary declined comment Wednesday.

Seven cities in the Coachella Valley now have dispensary bans or moratoriums in place. Only Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage have taken no action on the issue, and officials for these cities said none is planned.

News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Desert Sun
Author: K Kaufmann
Contact: thedesertsun.com | Staff Profiles
Copyright: 2007 The Desert Sun
Website: thedesertsun.com | Attorney General Jerry Brown won't rule on pot
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