VIDEO: Viewpoints, Episode 5: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Santa Monica

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Santa Monica is known for being a progressive city, taking the lead on a host of issues, including environmental sustainability and social justice, protecting against the dangers of second-hand smoke and providing new models to house the homeless.

However, when it comes to the divisive issue of medical marijuana, Santa Monica is behind the curve, failing to tackle the regulation of dispensaries. The council has placed the issue on the back burner. During that time 20 states and the District of Columbia have allowed the possession and use of the drug by adults who possess a doctor’s recommendation. That includes the state of California, which was the first in the nation to allow medical marijuana when voters passed Prop. 215 in 1996.

Voters in Colorado and Washington state have gone even further, passing laws last November allowing the sale of marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. More states could soon follow suit. There’s an effort currently underway in California to legalize pot, with organizers having until Feb. 24, 2014 to gather over 500,000 signatures to place an initiative on the ballot.

In the meantime, the state Supreme Court has already ruled that cities have the authority to allow dispensaries or to ban them, opening the door for the Santa Monica City Council to finally get off the pot. (Sorry for the pun.)

So what will they do?

To answer that question and more, the Santa Monica Daily Press is pleased to present a series of web-isodes on the issue, featuring City Planner Paul Foley, who has been instructed by the council to come up with several options for regulating dispensaries; Bill Leahy, president of Santa Monicans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group; Bob Holbrook, a long-time councilman and pharmacist by profession who is opposed to allowing dispensaries; and former Mayor Michael Feinstein, who believes medical marijuana patients should have access to dispensaries locally.

To read more about previous stories we have written about medical marijuana, click here.

You missed our previous episodes, click here to view them.

Viewpoints is a show that expresses the opinions of our guests. Opinions expressed are those of the talent and do not necessarily reflect those of the Santa Monica Daily Press, or the Daily Press Editorial staff. Guest commentary, feedback and ideas for future shows are encouraged, as are letters to the editor