The Los Angeles City Council today came up with an ordinance that might just please its desire to continue to allow cash sales of medical marijuana while creating a legal loophole to appease legal eagles who believe cash-for-pot is not allowed under state law.
The proposed rule, which could see a vote next week, will allow collectives and dispensaries to receive “cash contributions, reimbursements and compensations for actual expenses” in harvesting and bringing the weed to market.
As we told you previously, Attorney General Jerry Brown, county District Attorney Steve Cooley and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich have all stated that they don't believe the kind of retail pot establishments that have flourished in L.A. are legal under Prop. 215, the 1996 law that legalizes medical marijuana and allows for nonprofit distribution to the “seriously ill” via collectives.
The council has struggled to get a grip on the dispensary business in L.A. as the number of pot shops has grown to more than several hundred. (See LA Weekly's cover story this week on the medical pot trade and the city's failed attempts to regulate it).
Trutanich in particular has repeatedly told the council that there is no room under state law for storefronts that sell marijuana for cash. But the council has bucked his advice and asked for a loophole. It's not clear if the “cash contributions, reimbursements and compensations for actual expenses'' will satisfy Trutanich and Cooley, who have vowed to crack down on dispensaries if they're allowed by the city to operate as-is.