Pro-Pot Group Says L.A. City Council In Its Pocket

Pro-medical-marijuana group Americans For Safe Access this week claimed victory in its campaign to get the Los Angeles City Council to see things its way when it comes to regulating L.A.'s 800 or so registered pot shops.

After campaigning on-air at KPCC (89.3 FM), ASA claims it has beaten back the strict, anti-dispensary stances of county District Attorney Steve Cooley and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and that the council will eventually emerge with legislation that allows the kind of over-the-counter pot shops that have proliferated in neighborhoods such as Venice, Hollywood and Sherman Oaks.

"We've overcome the threat to ban medical marijuana sales in Los

Angeles," writes ASA spokesman Chris Hermes. "The City Council seems poised to vote next week on an

ordinance, and while it may still have flaws, we can at least celebrate

the defeat of Trutanich and Cooley's anti-sales campaign. By all

appearances, we are nearing the passage of an historic medical

marijuana dispensary ordinance for the City of Los Angeles."

The council has been struggling for more than a year to come up with an ordinace that would get a grip on what some would say is an out-of-control medical marijuana business in Los Angeles. While the voter-approved Prop. 215 did allow for "seriously ill" patients to get marijuana from nonprofit collectives, few government attorneys, including state Attorney General Jerry Brown, believe that voters envisioned the kind of retail-pot explosion now seen in L.A.

At the heart of the matter is whether such pot shops are even allowed under state law. Cooley and Trutanich say no: Pot-providing organizations must be nonprofit, membership collectives that are transparent about their costs, member lists and supply lines. Proponents like ASA and even city Councilman Ed Reyes believe there is room for over-the-counter, retail-like sales.

Reyes has moved to have portions of Trutanich's proposed ordinance rewritten so that retail-like cash transactions are allowed in the city. As such, the council has once again pushed back its vote on a dispensary law until at least next week. The ASA is already claiming victory. At this rate, we have little reason to doubt the group: It looks like pot shops, which outnumber Starbucks in some neighborhoods, are in L.A. to stay.


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