Top 10 Marijuana News Stories For 2012, LA Weekly-Style
8. Unluckiest pot proponent ever. Southern California pot shop operator Aaron Sandusky bravely fought the law. And the law won. He stood up to federal prosecutors who essentially said he was a drug dealer for operating G3 Holistics dispensaries in the Inland Empire. Sure medical marijuana is legal in California. But feds don't recognize that. Now Sandusky faces life behind bars.
7. Marijuana as medicine. President Obama himself has said there's not much he can do about the illegality of marijuana. It's a law. Not his law. But decriminalization advocates have been pushing his administration on that point -- all the way to federal court. The group Americans for Safe Access has challenged the DEA regarding its "scheduling" of pot as an outlaw drug with no medical benefits. That's not law, it's policy. In fact, ASA, argues, there is evidence of medicinal qualities for weed. If the group wins, it might be harder for feds to prosecute pot shops in medical marijuana states like California. Results are pending.
Dominic Simpson / Flickr
6. Pot shops and crime. Despite our victory dance last year when RAND withdrew a study that said local dispensaries seem to reduce neighborhood crime after we had some serious questions about the data, it's nice to see that your friendly neighborhood weed retailer is indeed not much more dangerous than Trader Joe's. UCLA researchers concluded "the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with crime rates ... " Good 'cause that stuff makes us paranoid.
Nightlife of Revelry / Flickr
5. Call 911. A sad part of modern drug law means that some of you party people are afraid to call for help when your friend passes out from too much chronic and/or whatever else you're doing. A new law by state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano should put a stop to this madness. It provides immunity to people with small amounts of drugs on them who want to call paramedics when a friend overdoses.
That_Dude69 / Flickr
4. You like your pot. Despite repeated attempts by the city of Los Angeles to choke out the medical marijuana business, the people have spoken: According to November exit polling by Loyola Marymount University 56 percent of Angeleno voters support "the cultivation, prescription (recommendation), and distribution of medical marijuana." So why was the city trying to ban dispensaries again?