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One More Month: Los Angeles Pot Dispensary Ban Starts September 6

Posted on August 07, 2012 by News Admin

 Medical marijuana patients in Los Angeles only have one more month of safe access to cannabis before a hare-brained scheme to ban dispensaries in the sprawling city goes into effect on September 6.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed the City Council's ban last Thursday, reports Dennis Romero of L.A. Weekly, and the ordinance was published on Monday, giving it 31 days -- until Thursday, September 6 -- to take effect, according to the City Clerk's office.

While the hapless City Council has taken five years of wrangling with the issue since their 2007 moratorium -- giving a convincing portrayal of clueless incompetence -- it seems that now they're on the way to banning dispensaries, they've suddenly found a new sense of purpose.

A second reading, or confirmatory vote, was unnecessary because, incredibly, the vote to ban pot shops was unanimous at 14-0, according to a spokesman for ban ordinance author Councilman Jose Huizar.

But there still exists a competing proposal by Councilman Paul Koretz that would give a reprieve to 182 of the shops which existed before the 2007 moratorium.

According to the L.A. Weekly, it appears there may not enough time for Koretz's competing (and more reasonable) proposal to be approved in time to stop the dispensary ban. The City Attorney's office is working on drafting the language of the Koretz proposal, according to his chief of staff Richard H. Llewellyn, Jr., with "no set timetable" for the office to complete its work.

With the ban apparently headed for implementation, the patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) says it's about to start gathering signatures to place a measure on the city ballot in November which would overturn the dispensary ban.

Organizers will begin gathering the signatures "soon," according to ASA spokesman Kris Hermes, with 27,425 valid sigs needed to qualify for the ballot.

Hermes expressed doubt that Los Angeles city officials have the will to enforce the dispensary ban. "Past moves to regulate pot shops have resulted in more dispensaries, not less, it seems," Romero writes, no doubt recalling the explosion of pot shops that followed the 2007 "moratorium." (Boilerplate language in the moratorium which excluded shops with paperwork in process opened the door to to a plethora of new dispensaries.)

"The City Attorney's office so far has said in large part they hope for voluntary compliance, so I don't know to what extent the city's going to try and enforce it," Hermes said. "If, in the background, we have a referendum campaign that will likely overturn the ordinance, another potential proposition on the table, it doesn't make sense to move ahead with enforcement at this point."

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