Repeal of L.A. Pot Shop Ban Reveals Marijuana Activists’ Political Muscle

The fact that the Los Angeles City Council bowed to the political pressure by marijuana activists to repeal the pot shop ban shows how increasingly organized and well-funded the movement is becoming. younggeneration.jpg

Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that it was the ballot measure, sought by the activists to repeal the measure in the March election, that halted the implementation of the ban last month and ultimately resulted in city council members scrapping it altogether.

The advocates were instrumental in collecting tens of thousands of signatures – far more than even necessary – to qualify the March ballot measure to repeal the ban.

Part of it may have been a twist of fate, as the mayor’s seat as well as eight city council positions are on the upcoming November ballot. One councilman in particular, Bill Rosendahl, may have also been instrumental in the council’s decision. A marijuana patient who is fighting a rare cancer, he pleaded with his colleagues to answer the question of how patients like him would be able to obtain the drug if the ban remained as is.

Of course, none of this stops the federal medical marijuana crackdown that has been initiated by the U.S. attorney’s office, but it may be a foreshadowing of changing opinions as case after case is litigated through state courts. Although a medical marijuana case has yet to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court (or even the California Supreme Court, for that matter) that may be where all this is ultimately decided.

While it is the courts’ job to remain insulated from political pressure of any kind, the state law on the issue is quite clear, and the federal interference has consistently violated the rights of the people, as set forth by the electorate.

We know that those who support medical marijuana accessibility have expressed a deep disappointment in President Barack Obama, whose promises not to interfere with dispensaries obeying state law have fallen flat. But regardless of whether that will be enough to sway the November presidential election, the city council’s decision on the local ban shows that medical marijuana backers do have strong political clout.

It’s undoubtedly been a challenge four counties and municipalities to strike a balance between state and federal law, the latter of which makes it a crime to sell marijuana for any reason.

And even though the ban is gone, some council members are vowing to use other laws to target dispensaries. For example, one councilman is calling out to the city attorney’s office to go after storefront marijuana shops that are in violation of city zoning laws, as marijuana dispensaries are not on the list of approved land uses.

Additionally, city council members have requested clarification from state legislatures to address what they say are inadequacies in the law. The city had already tried to enact a moratorium, but that measure was unsuccessful and many shops proliferated even after that measure was passed. That was in 2007. Since then, there have been more than 100 lawsuits filed on behalf of dispensaries and pot shop owners, some of those by THE CANNABIS LAW GROUP.

We are committing to continuing to fight aggressively for our clients and those whom they aim to serve.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
L.A. marijuana ban retreat shows clout of pot activists, Oct. 3, 2012, By Kate Linthicum, The Los Angeles Times
More Blog Entries:
States Debate Tax Pros of Full Marijuana Legalization, Oct. 7, 2012, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog