In a new vote the Los Angeles City council decide not to pass a ban on storefront legal bud shops on Tuesday, this allowed the city to dodge next years referendum that some officials said would likely succeed in a marijuana prohibition reversal.
In a upset to an business that operates in violation of federal law, the council voted in July to to outlaw pot dispensaries and substitute them with a system that allows for up to 3 patients to raise cannabis together.
However medical weed advocates collected in August the necessary 27,425 valid signatures to put the pronouncement to a March 2013 referendum. Under city rules, that amount of signatures – 10 percent of the total number of votes cast in the city’s previous mayoral election – put the bar on hold until the vote.
The backtracking comes a week after federal authorities moved to shut down 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 stated during the meeting on Tuesday.
“However, the most negative thing we could have done was to have a ban, but have it on hold … if it fails in March then basicaly we are back to where we started,” stated Kortez who is in favor of the repeal.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but 17 states and the District of Columbia allow it as medicine. Los Angeles has more medical cannabis dispensaries than any other municipality in the United States estimating the number between 750 and 1,000.
Medical weed in California, which in 1996 became the original state to permit it, is used to treat everything from cancer to anxiety, and numerous police officials protest recreational users are taking advantage of the system.
The Los Angeles City Council’s judgment to abolish the dispensary ban must come back for a second vote next week as the 11-2 vote was not a unanimous one.
Separately, the council approved a motion asking the state Legislature to give municipalities clear guidelines on how to regulate the delivery of medical weed.
According to Mitchell Englander, scores of badly run dispensaries have caused problems and “ruined it” for store fronts that are genuinely helping people with prescriptions.
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who has cancer and diabetes and has taken medical pot, made an ardent appeal 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 subsequent to revealing that doctors told him he might not have “much time to live.”