What do you say when a years-long drama to rein in Los Angeles' out-of-control pot shops ends in hardly any regulation, which is what we have today? “I think this process is working just fine.”
Those were the words of Los Angeles city Councilman Jose Huizar after pro-medical marijuana dispensary protesters descended on City Hall Tuesday to decry the city's June ordinance, which has outlawed all but 40 or so of nearly 600 pot shops (although the city has taken a hands-off stance as court challenges work their way through the syste this month).
Just fine? Really? Has anyone informed Huizar that some of the dispensaries that were told to close down by the city attorney and subsequently raided are showing City Hall their middle fingers by reopening? Just fine?
We're not sure who's more stone-ded, city leaders who who are abdicating their vows to deal with this mess once and for all or dispensary owners who have the nerve to protest. Protest what? Listen, stoners, as it stands, the rules are there are no rules in L.A. It's the Wild West, kay?
And still, they came to the council to boo-hoo about the ordinance that as of late August is not even being enforced.
“Just stop, think, and do something right for a change,'' Oliver Summers of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance told the council. “These are some decent operators that you're throwing out in order to punish the bad operators … I am not a criminal.''
The city's medical marijuana law had a goal of letting about 70 dispensaries — all of which had to have been operating before a failed 2007 moratorium on new pot shops was implemented — stick around.
But the law's fine print — 1,000 foot buffer zones from parks, schools and churches, no management changes in the last three years — means that only about 40 of nearly 600 dispensaries operating before June would be legal under the ordinance.
Rather than continue with its crackdown against out-of-compliance pot shops, the city announced it would back off on enforcement until court challenges are worked this month (or the next one, or the next one after that).
“What we're doing now is waiting for the outcome of that litigation so that we may adjust our ordinance,'' Huizar said. “We will adjust some things depending on what the judge finds is legal or not.''
Good strategy. After years of studying, debating and sidestepping the issue, the city will … wait.