Marijuana Dispensaries Banned in L.A. Per City Council Vote

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Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 3:29 PM
click to enlarge ALEJANDRO D / FLICKR
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See our updates, including a hail-Mary proposal to save some dispensaries, at the bottom.

See also:

*Marijuana Dispensary Ban in L.A. Could be Overturned by Voter Decree.

The L.A. City Council today voted to put an end to the city's infamous and numerous marijuana dispensaries, citing neighborhood concerns and court rulings that have questioned a city's right to regulate the retailers.

Most of all, however, the council argued that L.A's for-profit pot shop scene was never envisioned by state lawmakers whom the City Attorney says wanted to legalize the nonprofit growing and sharing of cannabis among the seriously ill.

That interpretation, of course, is up for debate, but ...

... for now the city of L.A. is having things its way: No more weed retailers in the pot shop capital of the nation. Maybe. (See more below).

At one point LA Weekly counted about 550 of them, and in light of a lack of city regulation, it seems that the number has remained fairly constant to us. In fact sources have told us that some rogue shops have taken advantage of City Hall's lack of action -- it has been trying to regulate dispensaries since at least 2007 -- to open illicit pop-up shops that come and go quickly.

click to enlarge AEROSOUL / FLICKR
  • aeroSoul / Flickr

The council voted 13 to 1 14-0 to allow only nonprofit collectives of up to three people who want to grow and share pot for the medically ill behind closed doors.

The vote drew a raucous response from marijuana supporters in council chambers, tweeted to 89.3 KPCC reporter Alice Walton. Shouting ensued, she said, but law enforcement, at the ready, was told to stand down by council President Herb Wesson.

The core of the ordinance says that medical marijuana "businesses" will be banned until a "regulatory scheme" can be realized by the city, ostensibly after various challenges to similar bans and other pot shop regulation schemes are decided by the California Supreme Court.

Pot shop advocates have argued that shutting down the retailers will restrict sick people's access to medicine. Even LAPD veteran and councilman Dennis Zine argued for a less restrictive ordinance, saying, according to Walton, that the ban would push the scene back into the black market.

After a second vote next week the ban should go into effect within 90 days. Stock up, people.

Updates, including news of an alternative plan that could save more than 100 pot shops from extinction, below:

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