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Ventura Enters The Brave New World Of 420

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
After years of delay, Ventura County has fully complied with the state mandated "Medical Marijuana Program Act", which changes the way the county and its municipalities regard medical cannabis and the estimated 10,000 seriously ill patients who require it.

Indeed, as early as December 7, an intrepid Web voyager could find her way to a page on the Ventura County Public Health site titled "Medical Marijuana Program." The ordinary-appearing page provides information for qualified Ventura County medical cannabis patients regarding how to obtain the state-issued Patient's ID Card.

County compliance with Senate Bill 420 has taken too long, yet we thank the Board of Supervisors for finally doing the right thing. The Patient's ID Card, which provides patients with extended protection in law enforcement encounters, is one of a number of rights and privileges guaranteed patients by the Medical Marijuana Program Act of 2004. Importantly, the law assures patients safe and local access to medicine. For the vast majority of patients, safe and local access means acquiring medicine through a dispensing collective with a "storefront" operation. According to the attorney general's "Guidelines" on medical cannabis, issued during August 2008, collectives must operate on a "not-for-profit" or "non-profit" basis. Additionally, a collective must be a "closed-circuit" - all medicine must be cultivated by the collective exclusively for its members. No illicit marijuana may enter the medical supply stream, and no medical cannabis may enter the black market.

Today there is not a single medical cannabis "dispensary" operating publicly in Ventura County. While the situation has caused years of unnecessary hardship for patients, there might be a positive side. The L.A. experiment and its 400 dispensaries have produced, with notable exceptions, a spawn of poorly managed, copycat operations bearing scant resemblance to anything "medical" - a situation the attorney general's "Guidelines" attempt to remedy. The fact that Ventura County is virgin territory for medical cannabis gives local patients a unique opportunity to create the next generation of facilities and services, to develop a new dispensary model viable for our community and others, to better serve both patients and the community.

There is also a very substantial economic impact. For a number of years, the county has not benefited from it estimated $50 million annual medical cannabis economy. Now, more than ever, that $50 million needs to stay in our community, where it can bring much-needed economic development and job creation.

News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Ventura County Reporter (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Southland Publishing, Inc.
Contact: editor@vcreporter.com
Website: Ventura County Reporter - Front Page
Author: Michael R. Meyer
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