From Prop 215 to Prop D, California's Legal Battle for Cannabis

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Proposition 215 (Prop 215)

The year was 1996. The HIV/AIDS Virus epidemic had greatly devastated the LGBT community throughout the 80’s and 90’s, cancer recovery patients were suffering from chemotherapy sickness and those battling nerve disorders were offered little relief. A solution was offered on November 5, 1996, as statewide voter initiative Proposition 215 was enacted. Prop 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, gave limited immunity to physicians for issuing patient recommendations for MMJ (medical marijuana) and allowed patients and caregivers the right to obtain those kinds of recommendations without fear of federal prosecution . 

Pre-Interim Control Ordinance (Pre-ICO)

Years went by in California without significant cannabis legislation until September 2007, which brought about the enactment of the Pre-ICO in Los Angeles. Named the Pre-Interim Control Ordinance, Pre-ICO is the term used to describe medical marijuana businesses that were legally registered with the City of Los Angeles before the Ordinance took effect in 2006. With the passage of Proposition 215 and the sudden legality of medical marijuana, thousands of illegally operating dispensaries began flooding the state of California and Los Angeles County. In 2013, with the passage of Measure D (aka Proposition D), the original 135 Pre-ICO Medical Marijuana businesses were legally allowed to operate in the County of Los Angeles. This was also contingent on whether or not they met all licensing criteria and adhered to the City's zoning ordinances. It was estimated that over 1000 illegal dispensaries were operating in the County of Los Angeles before all Ordinances, Propositions and laws were enacted. 

Proposition D (Prop D)

On May 21, 2013, Proposition D (Prop D) became a Los Angeles County law passed by the electorate in the Municipal Election. Prop D became effective by Ordinance on June 20, 2013. Proposition D enacted the prohibition of operating or establishing a Medical Marijuana Business in the County of Los Angeles. It also prohibited the renting, working and vehicle use for such businesses as well as provided some form of protection (limited immunity) for Medical Marijuana Businesses that were fully compliant with all of the requirements. 

In order to be Prop D compliant, a dispensary... 

  • Must have registered with the City Clerk under the City of LA’s 2007 Interim Control Ordinance (Pre-ICO), 
  • Must have registered by the city’s 2010 Medical Marijuana Ordinance which was enacted by a 2011 Temporary Urgency 
  • Must have registered under Measure M which includes paying taxes on medical marijuana in 2011 or 2012. 

With the Passage of Proposition D in LA County, the myriad number of illegally run dispensaries began to decrease one by one, as the City pressured landlords into ousting unlicensed collectives. Proposition D was also enforced by the City Attorney's Office by sending out notification letters to medical marijuana businesses and giving them a short time frame to provide documentation proving their compliance or close their doors. 

This type of enforcement has only been somewhat successful as many of these organizations run purely on cash and can easily close down and open up shop again a short distance away. And even though delivery services are forbidden from operating within city limits, it's near impossible to stop the number of mobile services popping up and delivering to unsuspecting patients. 

At Hopegrown, the mission is to highlight and direct interest to the organizations who work hard to improve their communities, abide by local and state laws and provide top quality patient care. By shining the light on those paving a pathway of health for the ever growing cannabis community, we hope to leave the deceptive, profit-hungry businesses in the dark. 

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