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City Council Votes on Pot

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The City Council finally voted on its very long-debated new ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries--though it failed to earn enough votes to officially pass today, it will almost certainly pass on a second vote next week, requiring a smaller majority. But elements of the bill still have elements of the medical pot community riled.

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News details from the L.A. Times:

The Los Angeles City Council settled the remaining controversial issue and voted today to adopt a medical marijuana ordinance requiring dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from places where children congregate, such as schools, parks and libraries.....

The City Council began to consider the issue four and a half years ago when it asked the police department to make recommendations. The department found just four dispensaries, but called for rules to keep them from schools and recreational areas. Two years later, when the council imposed its moratorium on new stores, 186 registered with the city to operate under the ban.

The ordinance caps the number of dispensaries at 70, but allows exceptions for those that registered under the moratorium and are still in business. All other dispensaries will have to close, though some are making plans to challenge the city's ordinance in court.....

The ordinance will not take effect until the council sets the registration fee that collectives will have to pay, a decision city officials said could be made in the next few weeks.

The surviving dispensaries will be allowed to take cash as a contribution from their collective members, despite City Attorney's offices insistence that "sales" of medical pot are illegal under state law. They are legally forbidden, however, from operating for profit under the new ordinance.

From the public comments and chat among the medical pot community at the many, many meetings considering this ordinance, issues still have them unhappy with the ordinance as it stands include the requirement that each collective have "an independent and
certified laboratory" analyze samples of its medicine for pesticides and contaminants, as advocates claim no such lab in the area exists, and a requirement that each patient be a member of only one collective, which is said to unfairly burden patients.

Ron Kaye's cynical and jaundiced judgment of individual council members' performance during this process. The text of the ordinance voted on today.

See past City of Angles blogging on the medical pot issue here and here.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user digitalshay. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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