Councilman Proposes Full Ban on Medical Marijuana in Los Angeles

A recently introduced plan could result in a ban on all medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. The ban was introduced by Councilman Jose Huizar. He says that the state appellate court ruling that was made last month involving the city of Long Beach said the government could not enforce its regulations and would therefore make the regulations in L.A. unenforceable, according to The Sacramento Bee.
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Our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys understand that local government is looking to ban all dispensaries in the city. The city previously debated allowing a specific number of dispensaries to run under specific regulations, but has since decided that these regulated shops could in fact violate federal law. One conclusion drawn by officials from this is to ban shops altogether. The recent proposed ban has been sent to two committees and could potentially reach the full council in a less than two months.

Marijuana advocates and shop owners have promised to fight any such ban, saying that the closure of shops would force patients across the state to purchase marijuana from criminals.

Los Angeles and cities across the state have been trying to handle the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries since the 1996 state ballot initiated that legalized medical marijuana.

At one time, the city had roughly 800 medical marijuana clinics, but is currently seeing about 300 open for business.

Opponents of these shops claim that they attract crime and bring down the value of surrounding properties. Some cities try to regulate the industry while others completely ban it. The City of Los Angeles previously approved the industry by creating a lottery that would limit the city to 100 dispensaries. In all cases, medical marijuana attorneys do not believe local governments have the right to impose arbitrary regulations upon the industry in violation of state law.

The lottery regulations have yet to take effect because more than 50 lawsuits have been filed to challenge the regulations.

California’s Second District Court of Appeal shot down the efforts of Long Beach back in October after it attempted to register marijuana shops. In this particular case, Long Beach’s ordinance was pre-empted by federal law that classifies marijuana, medical or not, as an illegal drug.

This appellate rules makes Los Angeles’ regulating rules unenforceable, in the opinion of some.

According to Don Duncan, the director of Americans for Safe Access, fair and strict regulations can help to reduce the number of complaints and alleged spikes in crime. He says that an all-out ban would only mean that government is turning a cold shoulder to legal patients who rely on the medicine to survive.

Still, California state law still allows caregivers and patients to grow their own medical marijuana.

State regulations must remember that this is an important industry that provides much-needed treatment to deserving patients and serves as a multimillion-dollar industry which could soon be put out of business in the city if advocates don’t fight back.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers aggressive and experienced representation for those in the medical marijuana industry in Southern California and even for those who are facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Los Angeles city councilman proposes marijuana ban, by Robert Jablon, The Sacramento Bee
More Blog Entries:

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Upheld in Riverside; the Fight Continues, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, November 15, 2011

Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Santa Ana Closed by Local Officials, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, November 8, 2011