The maps, the maps! Where are those darn maps?!

Once again missing key facts, that's the question some Los Angeles City Council members were asking Planning Department officials at today's council meeting at City Hall.

The uncompleted maps, among other things, may cause the City Council to finally vote on a medical weed ordinance after the new year.

After more than four years of study of medical marijuana dispensaries, the Planning Department has yet to complete land-use maps that will show where medical weed stores can or cannot operate because of zoning issues.

A pot shop, for example, may not be allowed to operate in a residential zone, but can open for business in a commercial zone.

The maps seem like basic information that should have been completed years ago, but as L.A. Weekly recently reported, Councilman Ed Reyes, chair of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, says those maps from the Planning Department won't be ready for another several weeks.

So at today's City Council meeting, Reyes wanted to put off any vote to finalize a medical marijuana dispensary ordinance until January, when the maps are expected to be finished.

“As much as it breaks my heart,” Reyes said to his colleagues.

According to an L.A. Weekly investigation, there are some 545 pot shops operating in Los Angeles.

City Council President Eric Garcetti responded to Reyes, saying, “I don't mind putting it off” until January.

And Councilman Paul Koretz said, “I ask we postpone (the vote) until we see the maps.” He was also willing to vote in January.

Garcetti pushed especially hard for a later rather than sooner vote so the City Council could see the maps before it finalizes a medical marijuana ordinance.

Garcetti, Reyes, and Koretz are among the more medical weed shop-friendly council members.

Councilman Jose Huizar, who's been pushing for fairly strict regulations of the medical weed stores, said, “We could wait for the maps … but we have enough information to move forward.”

In the end, Garcetti and Reyes won out. The City Council moved further consideration of the medical pot law to next Wednesday, with the strong possibility of nothing being finalized until early 2010 — at today's council meeting, a Planning Department official still didn't think the maps would be finished within a week.

LA Weekly