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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Patients Want To Stop The Ban On LA's Medical Cannabis Collectives

The Late Richard Kearns speaks before LA City Council

The magnitude of LA’s upcoming ban appears to be sinking in with some.  PAN is receiving numerous inquires from concerned patients wanting to know how to stop this ban.  Below we try to best answer your questions.

What’s Going On? -
The resolutions to ban LA’s collectives are quickly moving through Council committees and will be up for a vote by the full Council as early as next week. 


The final committee hearing is Friday, June 8, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. at Van Nuys City Hall - 14410 Sylvan St., Van Nuys, CA 91401.  The resolution is being heard by the
Council’s Public Safety Committee and will move on to the full Council for a final vote soon after, potentially next Tuesday's Council meeting or ANY meeting thereafter.


City Hall is only required to give 72-hour notice before any committee, commission or Council hearing or vote on a matter.  Patients and their advocates must remain poised and informed in order to participate in these public hearings. LA City Council meets three days per week: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  The City posts agendas and supplemental agendas daily.

What Can Patients/Advocates Do To Stop The LA Ban? *
It is always critical for as many patients and advocates to sign up to speak as possible anytime medical cannabis is on the agenda here in LA. Not just the same people at every meeting - new faces all the time.

This participation takes place during the ‘public comment period’ of the meeting.  The public’s right to be notified and allowed to speak at official meetings affecting public policy is protected by the Brown Act.


There are ‘speaker cards’ available in the hearing room.  You will need to provide some basic personal information on the speaker card.  Street address is not necessary but including your LA neighborhood or zip code is very helpful.  You will need to indicate on the speaker card if you support or oppose the agenda item.  You will need to include the agenda item number and ‘council file number.’

For the sake of this Public Safety Committee hearing, patients are concerned with agenda item 6, council file number(s) 11-1737, 11-1737-S1 and agenda item 7, council file number 08-0923-S17.  Please refer to the link to the agenda above for details. 

Speaker cards are turned into the meeting’s clerk at the beginning of the meeting and names are called at the appropriate time.  Brown Act allows for up to two minutes for each person to speak.  However, because other bodies have heard these resolutions already, it is likely speakers will only get one minute to speak at the hearing on Friday.

Speakers need to provide their name and neighborhood of residence at the beginning of their comments.  It is best to write down your comments, practice them and time yourself.  One minute goes very fast.

PAN has received many inquiries as to what patients should say.  It is most important that patients speak from the heart but remain courteous, concise and accurate.  Some of the things patients might include in their comments are:  being a register voter; being a patient, veteran, cancer survivor; stating how important your collectives are to you, quality, safety, affordability, not wanting to turn to the black market, etc.

Here is an example script that patients can make unique and personal which is important to elected officials.  Not all of this info is necessary but just ideas on things patients can touch on when speaking. 
“Good morning council members, my name is…. I live in…”
“I am a (medical cannabis patient/[ailment] sufferer/survivor, war veteran, disabled, low-income, in government housing/a care home, can’t grow my own…).”
“I am a (your professional area of expertise – teacher, doctor, lawyer, collective staff…).
THE ASK – “I urge you to (delay any ban; look at the regulations working in other cities such as West Hollywood, San Francisco, Oakland; follow State law; protect patients’ rights;
“Don’t take away my right to safe, affordable access.”
“Don’t send me to the black market.”
“I vote.”
“I thank you… for your time and attention.”

You do not have to speak the full time allotted to you.  You can simply state your name and neighborhood and that you support or oppose the ban.  You can state that you agree with comment already made by others.  If public speaking is truly not your thing, you can fill out a speaker card and check all the correct boxes and waive your time when you are called.  The clerk will still record your speaker card stating your support or opposition.

How Many Patients Need To Show Up To Make A Differnce? **  –
Typically, when items are agendized at LA City Hall, they become law. If the current participation by a hand full of patients is the status quo, then the L.A. ban will definitely pass.

If 500 - 1,000 advocates (patients/operators/attorneys/doctors, etc.)  sign-up for public comment on day of the final Council vote while 5,000 - 10,000 patients peacefully rally outside City Hall, that may get enough of City Council's attention to consider amendments, tabling the vote, looking at alternatives...

These numbers are not arbitrary: 500 will fill the Council Chamber; 1,000 will require the fire marshal to put out the ropes in the hallway and safely line up all of the other speakers; 6,500 - 12,000 is the average range of votes that each council member received to win their current seat. For example, Tony Cardenas received 4,788 votes in the last City election while Paul Krekorian received 12,692.

Patients can sign-up for email updates from PAN to learn when LA City Council will hold its final vote. Contact PAN to learn more about organizing your group.

*  Should the ban pass, collectives are encouraged to seek legal counsel.  
** Should the ban pass, patients are encouraged to participate with Patients For Compassionate Use Policies, PAN’s sister Political Action Committee, in a local voter initiative to overturn the ban and put enforceable, workable regulations in place.  Contact to get involved. 


Marie said...

Cannabis saved my husbands life. After chemotherapy he had no desire to eat. The only way I was able to get him to eat was for him to smoke some cannabis. He had never in his life smoked before and in Milwaukee, WI it is illegal. It worked he took just a few inhales and he had an appetite. I don't believe the police would have done anything to him because this was the most humane solution.

GaryLosAngeles said...

I strongly urge the city council to strongly continue supporting-allowing adequate convenient medical marijuana accessibility and availability for all suffering medical patients not deserving of any further additional unnecessary inhumane suffering in their lives!!!!