After a years-long demonstration of apparently bottomless ineptitude when it comes to effectively addressing safe access to medical marijuana for patients, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday repealed its own July dispensary ban with an 11 to 2 vote.
The action once again leaves L.A. with no laws regulating the city’s numerous dispensaries, but some council members were openly wishing for an expanded federal crackdown on the shops.
Tuesday’s vote followed years of attempts by the hapless council to regulate the medical marijuana dispensary scene in Los Angeles, with more than 400 dispensaries located in the L.A. metro area. The city claimed its own count revealed more than 1,000 such shops.
Council members said it was time to go back to the drawing board, saying they’d ask state legislators to “clarify” state law on how cities can regulate dispensaries.
“Facing the choice of letting you vote on overturning the ban or doing so itself following a referendum effort that turned in almost double the number of signatures needed to bring the issue to ballot, the body stuck its tail between its legs and said smoke ’em if you got ’em,” reports the LA Weekly‘s Dennis Romero.
|L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar — responsible for the ban in the first place — voted against repealing it, and openly hoped for a federal crackdown on city dispensaries|
“We’re pleased that the city is not going to put us through months of arduous enforcement,” said Kris Hermes of medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.”We welcome the opportunity to work with the city on sensible regulations that will work for patients and the communities.”
The vote is set to be finalized next week, “but given the numbers it looks good to go,” the Weekly reports.
Notoriously anti-cannabis Councilman Jose Huizar — who led the effort to ban dispensaries — cast one of only two votes against repealing the ban; the other was the vote of Councilman Joe Buscaino.
Huizar said a federal crackdown — which is looking increasingly likely — might accomplish what his short-lived ban could not. “That is our relief,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
After a 2007 “moratorium” was instituted by the L.A. City Council, hundreds more dispensaries opened under boilerplate language included which allowed shops with paperwork in process to remain open.