Surprise, Surprise: City Council, All Stoner-Like, Postpones Pot Vote
If you're concerned about cats, the Los Angeles City Council is a fast-acting, legislation machine. But if you're worried about those unregulated pot shops that outnumber Starbucks in some neighborhoods, you're going to have to wait. Again.
The council today postponed its hearing on an ordinance that would finally attempt to provide some framework for the medical marijuana dispensary business. The council has been looking at proposed laws for more than a year, during which time the pot-shop business has blossomed and seems out of control according to some critics.
The problem with voting this week is that the council was not happy with City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's by-the-book language, which essentially would have deemed all retail-type pot shops out of order. (State Attorney General Jerry Brown argues that there was never any provision for for-profit dispensaries in the medical marijuana Prop. 215, and Trutanich agrees).
Councilmembers want to add their own spin and essentially water down the ordinance, which would have limited pot-dispensing collectives to non-profit, members' only, virtually cash-free transactions. And, indicative of where the council's coming from, one proposal would reportedly reduce a distance limitation from 1,000 to 500 feet for dispensaries near schools, churches and rehab centers. It's indicative because the 1,000-foot provision alone would have wiped out a lot of the dispensaries in business.
So, it's a pro-business council, and they want to get it right. But Trutanich and county District Attorney Steve Cooley argue that there's no wiggle room for this kind of commerce: Selling pot to anyone off the street with a doctor's note, they say, is against the law regardless of what the council eventually ends up doing.
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