Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes says the city isn't likely to see a law limiting the city's burgeoning medical marijuana trade until next year. While that's less than a month away, it's another sign that the City Council doesn't have the fortitude to grapple with an issue that has seen 545 pot shops operate with little regulation. (And let us repeat this: After an exhaustive look into the dispensaries registered with the city, the Weekly found that 545 of them were actually operating. The count of 800 or even 1,000 cited in other outlets are flat out wrong. In some cases, prospective shop owners registered multiple businesses with the city as sort of bookmarks but never opened a one).

Reyes told the Los Angeles Daily News “It will be a slim chance to have something in place by this year, but I am still hopeful.”

As we told you Tuesday, the council put off consideration of a pot-shop ordinance for the umteenth time and scheduled a hearing for a revised law Tuesday.

And, as we told you Wednesday, a Superior Court judge, James Chalfant, said from the bench that he believes that pot shops shouldn't be in the business of selling marijuana. State Prop. 215 allows for the growing and nonprofit distribution of medical marijuana among of a collective of “seriously ill” patients.

You might think the judge's opinion — he's on a path to set a precedent that could supersede any city law — would light a fire under the asses of council members and inspire then to write a law that once and for all deals with the issue of over-the-counter sales of medical marijuana to virtually anyone off the street in neighborhoods with schools, churches and children nearby.

But no. In fact, it appears that the council might be dragging its feet in order to let the courts do its job. After all, it's been nearly two years since the council took up the issue of putting some boundaries around medical marijuana dispensaries (cat grooming establishments have more rules). Reyes has said that whatever the council comes up with — after years of working on the issue, after hearing legal opionion after legal opinion from the City Attorney — would be subject to the courts, to “the whole appeal process.”

Check out LA Weekly's investigation into the largely unregulated nature of pot dispensaries here. Check out our list (PDF) of city pot shops here.

LA Weekly