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City Council Finalizes Repeal of Ban on Medical Marijuana Storefronts

Tuesday’s vote is a formality that concludes the Council’s decision a week ago to overturn its “Gentle Ban” ordinance.

 

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday for the second time in a week to repeal its ban on medical marijuana storefronts, ending any uncertainty that the lack of unanimity in last week’s vote might change the Council’s decision on the issue.

Without any discussion, the Council voted 11-1 in a so-called “second reading” vote to overturn a “Gentle Ban” ordinance it had introduced in July to outlaw the sale of medical marijuana in storefronts — without preventing cannabis patients to cultivate their own marijuana in collectives of three or less individuals.

The only dissenting vote came from Council member Joe Buscaino, who had voted against repealing the ban last week as well, along with Council member José Huizar. (Last Tuesday's 11-2 vote forced it into a "second reading," which requires only eight votes for the issue to be settled.)

Huizar, one of the key architects of the Gentle Ban ordinance, was absent during the Oct. 9 vote, according to Rick Coca, the communications director for his office. Council members Bernard Parks and Jan Perry were also reportedly absent.

In a statement issued by his office, Huizar reiterated that medical marijuana storefronts are illegal under state law and that “nothing the City Council did” about the issue changes that reality.

“At this point, I’m more concerned with enforcement on illegal, for-profit dispensaries, which the federal government is currently engaged in,” Huizar said, referring to lawsuits that federal prosecutors filed against three Eagle Rock-based pot clinics on Sept. 25—part of a wider enforcement action against 70 other cannabis storefronts in the city. The federal crackdown came about a week after marijuana advocates submitted enough signatures in a petition to force a referendum on the city's ban on such businesses.

“While I support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the state needs to create a better way of providing access for seriously ill patients while removing the scores of profiteers and recreational users who currently dominate the market,” Huizar said, adding that he was encouraged by the unanimous support for a resolution that he helped introduce in the Council last week, urging the state legislature to streamline state law regarding the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

The council's vote came the same day Council member 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.

Marijuana advocates hailed Tuesday’s widely expected decision by the City Council, 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 Council member 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.

—City News Service contributed to this article.

 

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FlyingTooLow October 10, 2012 at 02:08 PM
The articles coming out of the 'medicinal marijuana' states seem to involve 'pissing contests.' It is one petty bureaucracy against another...with no progress...just arguments. If marijuana were treated like lettuce and tomatoes, that would end. After all, it is plant. Take the government out of the equation. It does not belong. Every free thinking person should read: Shoulda Robbed a Bank That will shed much needed light on the pot issue.
Jack Picklebush October 10, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I honestly think it is quite funny when these politicians claim they are after the "profiteers". If you consider anyone who manufactures a product for sale evil because they do so for profit then we live in a country of criminals. Medicine isnt any different and if we are going to call medical marijuana providers profiteers then what does that make the people from any of the large pharmaceutical manufacturers. Criminals?
Esoteric Knowledge October 10, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Jobs on the Los Angeles City Council should not be given to low-IQ individuals where they can inflict harm on the population driven by their bigotry.
Esoteric Knowledge October 10, 2012 at 04:46 PM
You have the ability to think. The The Los Angeles City Council does not have this power. You just thought for the 5 seconds, which makes you smarter than the entire Los Angeles City Council.
Charles Jagoda October 10, 2012 at 06:27 PM
The Economist had an interesting quote--something to the effect that if marijuana were discovered today in some remote mountain valley, if would be hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread. The LaGuardia Commission in 1940 and the Shaefer Commission called by Nixon in 1970 both concluded the same thing--the only thing that is wrong about marijuana is the laws against it. For at least 25,000 years (some biological evidence says we've been interacting with cannabinoids for at least 40,000 years) humans have had the benefits of marijuana. Only for the last 75 years has it been illegal in this country. The 40,000 year trend line is a lot stronger than the 75 year aberration and someday we will look back and wonder how we could have been so stupid for so long. The answer will be: American Puritanism and monopolistic efforts by those who feel it's too hard to compete with marijuana (and hemp) on the merits so they must criminalize it. I refer to William Randolph Hearst and the oil industry historically, and the pharmaceutical medicine and liquor industries today. And, of course, those who are afraid of fun and who believe that only medicines that cause pain and side effects are valid. Chuck Jagoda, Cannabis Activist
MissGuinness October 16, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Some are actually pretty smart, well, smart enough to push their agendas. The MMJ community needs to gather up in a much grandeur scale (like they did for the Eagle Rock Elections) and boot those council members out! Elections are coming up. Anyone up for that challenge?

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