L.A. To Repeal Ban on Medical Marijuana Shops

Oct 3, 2012

The Los Ange­les City Coun­cil voted to rescind a newly enacted ban on store­front med­ical mar­i­juana shops on Tues­day, allow­ing the city to avoid a ref­er­en­dum next year that some offi­cials said would likely suc­ceed in revers­ing the pro­hi­bi­tion. The coun­cil, in a blow to an indus­try that oper­ates in vio­la­tion of fed­eral law, voted in July to ban pot dis­pen­saries and replace them with a sys­tem that would allow up to three patients to col­lec­tively grow mar­i­juana. But med­ical mar­i­juana advo­cates col­lected in August the nec­es­sary 27,425 valid sig­na­tures to put the deci­sion to a March 2013 ref­er­en­dum. Under city rules, that num­ber of sig­na­tures – 10 per­cent of the total num­ber of votes cast in the city’s last may­oral elec­tion – put the ban on hold until the vote. The back­track­ing comes a week after fed­eral author­i­ties moved to close about 70 such dis­pen­saries in the city in a renewed effort to crack down on the oper­a­tions through the use of asset-forfeiture law­suits and warn­ing let­ters. “Legally it appears that almost noth­ing we do is a sure­fire approach,” City Coun­cil­man Paul Koretz said dur­ing the meet­ing on Tues­day. “But I think the sure­fire least pos­i­tive approach is to have a ban, but have it on hold … have it fail in March and basi­cally be back where we started,” said Koretz, who voted in favor of repeal. Pot remains ille­gal under fed­eral law, but 17 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia allow it as med­i­cine. Los Ange­les has between about 500 and 1,000 med­ical mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries, more than any other city in the nation. Med­ical mar­i­juana in Cal­i­for­nia, which in 1996 became the first state to allow it, is used to treat every­thing from can­cer to anx­i­ety, and many police offi­cials com­plain recre­ational users are tak­ing advan­tage of the sys­tem. The Los Ange­les City Council’s deci­sion to repeal the dis­pen­sary ban must return for a sec­ond vote next week because the 11–2 vote was not a unan­i­mous one. Sep­a­rately, the coun­cil approved a res­o­lu­tion ask­ing the state Leg­is­la­ture to give munic­i­pal­i­ties clear guide­lines on how to reg­u­late the dis­tri­b­u­tion of med­ical mar­i­juana. Coun­cil­man Mitchell Eng­lan­der com­plained that many badly run dis­pen­saries in the city have “ruined it” for a minor­ity of store­fronts that are truly help­ing patients. City Coun­cil­man Bill Rosendahl, who has can­cer and dia­betes and has taken med­ical mar­i­juana, made an impas­sioned plea dur­ing the meet­ing for allow­ing a lim­ited num­ber of dis­pen­saries. “Where does any­body go, even a coun­cil­man go, to get his med­ical mar­i­juana?,” Rosendahl said in a hoarse voice, moments after reveal­ing that doc­tors told him he might not have “much time to live.” Report­ing By Alex Dobuzin­skis; edit­ing by Todd East­ham and Cyn­thia John­ston Source: Reuters (Wire) Author: Alex Dobuzin­skis, Reuters Pub­lished: Octo­ber 2, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 Thom­son Reuters

388fefaff3nabis.jpeg 150x112 L.A. To Repeal Ban on Medical Marijuana Shops

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L.A. To Repeal Ban on Med­ical Mar­i­juana Shops

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