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Council Repeals Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 11 October 2012 04:27

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles City Council, without discussion, has repealed the ban it imposed on storefront medical marijuana dispensaries several months ago.

The City Council in July approved an ordinance that banned all storefront medical marijuana dispensaries but allowed patients and licensed caregivers to grow their own cannabis in collectives of three or fewer people.

The Committee to Protect Patients and Neighborhoods – a coalition of medical marijuana advocates comprising Americans for Safe Access, the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 – led the effort to repeal the ban. The groups gathered the necessary 27,425 valid signatures needed to ask voters to repeal the law on a city election ballot.

Council members last week conceded that a referendum was sure to pass.

On Oct. 9, The council voted 11-1, on second reading, to repeal the ban, with Councilman Joe Buscaino casting the dissenting vote. Council members Jose Huizar, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, who also opposed repealing the ban last week, were not present for the second vote.

The council's vote came the same day Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who has been using marijuana as he battles cancer, disseminated a letter informing constituents that he would not seek a third term on the City Council.

Rosendahl attacked President Barack Obama's decision last year to start going after medical marijuana dispensaries. Federal authorities recently initiated the closure of nearly 70 pot shops, including some in Eagle Rock and downtown.

The council last week approved a resolution sponsored by City Council President Herb Wesson that asks the Legislature to fix state law to give municipalities clear guidelines on how to regulate the distribution of medical marijuana.

The existing law "fails to respond to fundamental issues and ... has been inappropriately used as a legal shield to stymie local governments from solving many resulting problems," according to Wesson's resolution.

Marijuana advocates hailed the expected repeal, saying it would allow safe access for critically ill cancer, AIDS and other sick patients.

"The will of this council, evident by the ban's repeal, is for limited safe access within our city," said Yami Bolanos, president of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance. "We call upon the federal government to respect their position. We urge them to immediately cease and desist from the threats and intimidation tactics directed at Los Angeles operators and their landlords."

A plan by Councilman Paul Koretz that would allow the operation of about 125 dispensaries that were open before Sept. 14, 2007, when the city placed a moratorium on new dispensaries, is expected to come before the City Council in early November. The plan would place strict regulations on dispensaries regarding location, hours of operation and required security.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2012 04:28