Updated at the bottom with what happened (it's not looking good for pot shops). First posted at 7:09 a.m.
Boy have we got an investment opportunity for you. It's called legal weed, and it could soon be a very limited commodity in the Los Angeles area.
That's because L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar has proposed banning all medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.
The day of reckoning could come sooner than you thought, as the council's Public Safety Committee will begin hashing out the details today:
The Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance is, well, a bit paranoid. And maybe it should be.
Moving with uncustomary speed, and skirting propriety in their haste, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office will address The Safety Committee in closed session tomorrow, January 13, 2012, to recommend a total ban on Medical Cannabis Facilities. If the Safety Committee chooses to do so, they may vote for a ban, and send the motion to the City Council for approval.
Of course, one person's uncustomary speed is another's years and years: The L.A. City Council has been trying to get a grip on the town's 500 or so dispensaries since at least 2007.
It has been a spectacular FAIL, so far.
The body tried to whittle down the number of dispensaries to 100 using a lottery system, but a California appeals court ruling said you couldn't do that. In the meantime, lawlessness seems to reign in dispensaryland and, instead of closing as ordered, many seem to have opened.
The court ruling, Pack v. City of Long Beach, makes it harder for cities to regulate dispensaries. It rules out a lottery system and says permitting schemes are not kosher.
That seems to have inspired former pot-shop supporter Huizar to throw up his hands and call for a complete ban.
The Alliance will be out in force outside City Hall's Public Safety session at 8:30 this morning. Yami Bolanos, its president and founder:
The health and safety of the sick and dying in Los Angeles may be at risk, and that is unacceptable to us.
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[Update at 11:45 a.m.]: LA Weekly's Hillel Aron was in the house for this. He reports back that the ban will now head to the city's Planning Committee for a hearing Jan. 26 and could face a possible vote before the City Council soon after.
Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher called the proposal a "gentle ban" that would still allow "primary caregivers" to grow weed but, apparently, not sell it in the kind of retail environment L.A. has seen.
Besides the Long Beach decision (above), she said legal costs and potential liability from more than 60 pot-shop related suits against City Hall are also solid reasons for the ban.