Los Angeles City Council Should Examine Ban Alternatives

By The Union of Medical Marijuana Patients on January 26th 2012

Since L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar announced the day before Thanksgiving a motion to ban medical cannabis dispensaries (with the support of the City Attorney), the Union has been meeting with Council staff to discuss the problems dispensaries were allegedly causing and ways to remedy these. It is true that there have been some bad operators, although most patient associations have tried hard to be good neighbors. And the Council members get calls about loitering, smoking near dispensaries, secondary sales to minors, etc.

Unfortunately, the medical cannabis industry has not found a sufficient manner to self-regulate and the abusers of the state’s Medical Marijuana Program gave an opening to those who would like to completely eliminate safe access. We’ve also been told that the Council members never receive letters, email, or calls from their constituents thanking them for allowing convenient access, so the only political pressure is coming from those who want to close the dispensaries.

Huizar’s motion to ban is now well advanced through the process of being voted on before the City Council (including a Public Safety Committee meeting that allowed many official witnesses in favor of the ban, but which shut out public comment opposed to it). After consulting with Council staff, we and our attorneys have developed two motions: the first motion orders the L.A.P.D. and City officials to enforce current public nuisance abatement laws, while high court decisions are made that will decide how cities can regulate; the second motion provides an alternative to a complete ban, which we’re calling a “ban in abeyance” or soft ban, which requires proof of good behavior for a dispensary to continue operating and points to ways to regulate (including using third party verification) which can be implemented regardless of court decisions.

We would urge you to support one or both of these motions by expressing your opinion to your City Council member and explaining why safe and convenient access to medical cannabis is important to you.


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