LA Council Set To Vote on Pot Ordinance
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LA Council Set To Vote on Pot Ordinance
Posted by CN Staff on December 08, 2009 at 19:59:56 PT
By Greg Risling, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Los Angeles -- The Los Angeles City Council could vote Wednesday on a much-anticipated medical marijuana ordinance that would greatly reduce the number of pot dispensaries in the city and push them to industrial areas.Council President Eric Garcetti instructed the city attorney's office to return with a draft ordinance that included a host of revisions debated Tuesday during a marathon six-hour session.
While other California cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and West Hollywood have been able to regulate medical marijuana, Los Angeles has fumbled to adopt guidelines over the past two years. Authorities believe the delay has led to widespread abuse of a 1996 state ballot measure allowing marijuana for medicinal use.City officials estimate as many as 1,000 dispensaries operate in Los Angeles alone. Only four were around in 2005, when city officials first discussed a local medical marijuana law.Among the ordinance's provisions is capping the number of dispensaries at 70. The move would shutter many of the shops no longer in compliance with city law.Despite the cap, council members would allow 186 dispensaries that registered before a 2007 moratorium was enacted, but not enforced, to stay open as long as they met the other ordinance requirements. The city attorney's office estimates 137 of those 186 dispensaries are still in operation.Many of the other pot clinics took advantage of a loophole known as a "hardship exemption" that allowed them to open while awaiting city approval.The ordinance also would allow cash reimbursement at the clinics. Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley has said he will go after pot dispensaries involved in over-the-counter sales. Cooley's interpretation of vaguely written state law provides only for the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but not the sale of the drug.A Los Angeles Superior Court judge took a similar stance last week, signaling he would bar a dispensary from selling the drug because he believes it violates state law. Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is trying to close Hemp Factory V permanently.One of the more controversial guidelines is where dispensaries can be located. While council members agreed on the distance clinics must be from schools, churches and other gathering spots, some were concerned with language that prohibits dispensaries from being 1,000 feet from a residence. The provision would essentially move all dispensaries to industrial areas."The idea is to have these dispensaries more accessible to ill patients so they can walk down the street and get what they need," said James Shaw of the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, an advocacy group for medicinal marijuana users. "It's NIMBYism."Fourteen states, including California, permit medical marijuana. Pot, however, remains illegal under federal law.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Greg Risling, Associated Press WriterPublished: December 8, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 09, 2009 at 06:13:50 PT
Related Article From The Wall Street Journal
L.A. Agrees to Limit Medical-Marijuana DispensariesDecember 9, 2009URL:
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