L.A.’s Medical Marijuana Mess

Jul 28, 2012

The Los Ange­les City Coun­cil is plainly out of its depth when it comes to reg­u­lat­ing med­ical mar­i­juana. This was already clear after years of fum­bling and court-delayed attempts to limit the num­ber or loca­tions of cannabis dis­pen­saries, but it became painfully obvi­ous Tues­day when the coun­cil approved a ban on all dis­pen­saries — along with a sep­a­rate motion to draft an ordi­nance that would allow well-established pot shops to stay open, par­tially defeat­ing the council’s own pur­pose. Not that we can really blame the coun­cil for being con­fused. We’re con­fused about how to legally restrict a quasi-legal busi­ness too. For that mat­ter, so is the entire state of Cal­i­for­nia. And that’s caus­ing even big­ger prob­lems than usual as the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, which con­sid­ers mar­i­juana an ille­gal drug, has begun a series of raids on Cal­i­for­nia pot out­lets. Is L.A.’s new ban even legal? There’s no clear answer to that ques­tion, but a recent court rul­ing sug­gests that it isn’t. After Los Ange­les County imposed a blan­ket ban on pot dis­tri­b­u­tion in unin­cor­po­rated areas in Decem­ber 2010, it was chal­lenged by a Cov­ina col­lec­tive, which won a key vic­tory this month in the state’s 2nd Dis­trict Court of Appeal. Writ­ing for the three-justice panel, Jus­tice Robert Mal­lano said the county’s ban was pre­empted by state law and con­tra­dicted the intent of the Leg­is­la­ture. Of course, it isn’t that sim­ple. The Los Ange­les County ban would have closed all dis­tri­b­u­tion out­lets, whereas the city of L.A.’s ban would allow small col­lec­tives with three or fewer mem­bers to stay open. The city’s lawyers say that key dif­fer­ence should per­suade the courts to approve L.A.’s “gen­tle ban,” and as ammu­ni­tion they point to a sep­a­rate rul­ing by a dif­fer­ent 2nd Dis­trict Court jus­tice that sug­gested the city’s approach would nei­ther con­sti­tute a true ban nor vio­late state law. If think­ing about all that isn’t enough to give you a migraine — which, on the plus side, is enough jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to get a med­ical rec­om­men­da­tion for a dose of cannabis in Cal­i­for­nia — there is the added com­pli­ca­tion that could arise if the City Coun­cil goes ahead with the sep­a­rate ordi­nance to allow cer­tain dis­pen­saries to stay open. Specif­i­cally, Coun­cil­man Paul Koretz called Tues­day for staff to draw up a draft that would grant immu­nity from the ban to those facil­i­ties that were in place before a 2007 city mora­to­rium on new dis­pen­saries was approved. This brings up unhappy mem­o­ries of L.A.’s years-long attempts to reg­u­late bill­boards, when strict reg­u­la­tory ordi­nances were under­mined by coun­cil mem­bers carv­ing out exemp­tions for cer­tain signs in their dis­tricts. Courts tend to take a dim view of that kind of favoritism. So let’s review: L.A. has banned all but the tini­est mar­i­juana col­lec­tives. When it attempts to enforce this ban, it will be sued. Action will be delayed for months, or quite pos­si­bly until the state Supreme Court weighs in on a series of mar­i­juana cases next year. Mis­sion accom­plished? Source: Los Ange­les Times (CA) Pub­lished: July 26, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 Los Ange­les Times Con­tact: letters@​latimes.​com Web­site: http://​www​.latimes​.com/

93589819ccgavel.jpg 150x95 L.A.’s Medical Marijuana Mess

Orig­i­nal post:
L.A.’s Med­ical Mar­i­juana Mess

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