LA Repeals Dispensary Ban, Due to Voter Pressure

October 2 - After 49,000 Los Angeles voters signed a petition to repeal the city's ban on medical marijuana collectives, forcing a repeal or a vote, the LA City Council voted 11-2 to repeal the ban.

William McKenzie Smith, a patient with the Cornerstone research collective, has skin cancer he is treating with a topical cannabis oil. He stood to speak on behalf of those currently treating illnesses with marijuana, and those who will be.

Another cancer patient who spoke was Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who is fighting cancer of the urethra he said is a side effect of one of his diabetes medications.

Many of the councilmembers called for better regulations at the state level, with councilman Huisar calling for California's law to limit the number of illnesses for which medical cannabis can be used, as in Oregon. (This would be an unconstitutional amendment since Prop. 215 states it can be recommended for any illness deemed appropriate by a doctor.)

Councilmember Koretz said the council's alternative proposal could be on the Planning commission agenda Oct. 25 and before council beginning November. " I ask we repeal measure and take more appropriate and balanced approach," he said.

Rosendahl said he'd met with Kamala Harris recently, who told him the problem is in the details, suggesting the state legislature must come up with those. "We have 100 or more dispensaries playing by the rules," Rosendahl said, "But the Mexican mafia, Armenia mafia, and Russian mafia are peddling their crap. Obama did a disservice when he said it's OK, then turned around and started raiding. To clear it up, let's authorize whatever number were grandfathered in and see what the state will do."

Councilmember Reyes stood in support of the repeal, saying, "What weighs heavy in my mind is, no matter that we do the federal government will still come in and shut them down." Saying he'd voted for the ban because of "the lawlessness, the crime, the impact to my district" he said he now supports repeal "because I've seen people, council colleagues, who need this medicine who are sick, and dying." He added, "It's a very confusing time for everyone, those who continue to open up for the right reasons are at risk, and those who are doing it for profit and the cost of our lives are also at risk."

Councilman Englander said the situaion is out of hand and convoluted. "It's been unfortunate that 7-800 dispensaries are not good operators, ruining it for the good operators." He said he's eager to work in Sacramento on the issue, and favored a repeal of the "soft ban" saying, "let's get rid of the bad operators once and for all."

Since the vote was not unanimous, it will come back next week for a second vote.

Immediately after the vote, a motion by councilmembers Wesson, Englander and Huizar was introduced to adopt a resolution asking the state legislature to declare that financial transactions (sales) are not legal and declare that cooperatives and collectives must have local authorization to operate. The resolution also calls for enforcement against lenient medical cannabis doctors and a “finite list of conditions” for which cannabis can be used. The resolution passed unanimously (13-0). Read more.