LA City Council Considers Ban On Marijuana Shops
Associated Press | Jul 24, 2012 | Comments 0
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Medical marijuana advocates and frustrated residents squared off Tuesday as the City Council considered banning pot shops in the nation’s second-largest city, where hundreds of dispensaries now operate.
The hearing took place a day after a priest, drug counselors and others decried the crime and other social problems they say surround neighborhood marijuana dispensaries.
Among those who spoke at that gathering was a woman who complained about having to push her baby’s stroller through clouds of marijuana smoke near dispensaries in her East Hollywood neighborhood.
More than 700 medical marijuana dispensaries have sprouted across the city in recent years. A ban would close them all but allow small groups of patients and caregivers to grow marijuana.
Another proposal being considered would grant 100 pot clinics limited immunity to continue to operate.
The state and many cities have struggled with medical marijuana ordinances, which have been the subject of lawsuits and heated public policy debates. The California Supreme Court has decided to clarify marijuana’s hazy legal status by addressing whether local governments can ban dispensaries.
After hearing Tuesday from numerous advocates on both sides of the issue, the City Council adjourned to a closed session to get guidance from legal experts before deciding what to do.
Proponents of pot shops, including unionized dispensary workers and medical marijuana patients, held their own rallies on Monday opposing any ban.
The United Food and Commercial Workers recently began backing dispensary workers.
The council’s planning and land use committee voted in May to recommend putting an end to storefront pot shops and instead allowing small groups of patients and caregivers to grow marijuana.
A counter proposal brought by Councilman Paul Koretz would grant 100 dispensaries limited immunity, under special restrictions involving where they can operate.