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Marijuana

Marijuana Dispensary Ban Possible In L.A. After High Court Ruling

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Tue, May 7, 2013 at 7:07 AM
click to enlarge LA WEEKLY
  • LA Weekly

Could the city of Los Angeles try to ban all pot shops in town again?

It's possible. Supporters of a May 21 measure that would let more than 100 marijuana dispensaries in L.A. survive warned voters this week that the City Council could see enough turnover in the election that cannabis opponents could have the votes to try yet another ban:

A California Supreme Court ruling yesterday stating that cities indeed have the right to outlaw local dispensaries should inspire voters to weigh in on Measure D, said Brad Hertz, an attorney with the pro-D campaign:

"The City Council may be emboldened by the Supreme Court ruling," he told reporters. " ... It is crucial that Prop. D passes on May 21."

D would outlaw most of the 1,000 or so dispensaries in town, allowing only 135 that have been around since a failed, October, 2007 moratorium on pot shops to survive.

click to enlarge NANETTE GONZALEZ FOR LA WEEKLY
  • Nanette Gonzalez for LA Weekly

A competing measure, F, would allow many if not most of the shops in town to continue operating so long as they adhere by certain rules, including operating hours, background checks for operators and maintaining distances from schools.

A third proposed law on the ballot, E, was written by some of D's same backers, including an organization that represents the pre-moratorium pot shops. But after the city came up with similar language in D, E's people abandoned their own measure and threw their support behind the city's proposal.

Confused?

Yeah. And now that the Supreme Court has said L.A. can outlaw dispensaries altogether if it wants to, those very same folks in bed with City Hall in support of D are trying to scare you into voting for it in case the City Council turns against shops again.

Matt O'Malley of the pro-D UFCW local 770, which represents some pot shop workers, notes that four of five City Council members who voted against placing D on the ballot will remain with the body, which will also see several new members elected.

"The city council is about to turn over," he warned.

But Rigo Valdez of the UFCW said that, given the referendum that essentially overturned the City Council's last attempt at banning pot shops, "the voters here have spoken and said they do not want a ban."

He said the Supreme Court's green light on banning dispensaries "has very little bearing" on L.A.

We'll see.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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