Medical Marijuana Ban to be Brought to Public Vote
Opponents of a city-wide ban on storefront medical marijuana dispensaries have garnered enough petition signatures to call a public vote, the Los Angeles City Clerk’s Office confirmed Monday.
A group of activists submitted a petition with almost 50,000 signatures to challenge the ban, which was supposed to go into effect on Sept. 6. The City Council now has to decide between retracting the ban, calling a special election in the next 110 to 140 days, or putting the issue on the ballot at the March 5 city election.
Consideration on the issue should take place by City Council before Oct. 7, according to the city clerk's office. For now the petition has put a hold on the ban. However, "the business of medical marijuana continues to be an unpermitted land use in the city," reminded the city attorney's office in an online post.
The opinion in City Council was split concerning whether the city could rightfully regulate cannabis collectives when the issue was voted on in July. The legislation would permit caregivers and licensed patients of medical marijuana to grow and carry their own marijuana, while banning the storefront dispensaries.
Despite the overwhelming public support for the petition, having collected 49,021 signatures when only 27,425 were needed, Councilman Jose Huizar affirms that while the ban is on hold, the city’s “Sunset Clause” is now in effect in its place. This “outlaws storefront dispensaries and only allows, per state law, for a qualified patient or caregiver to grow their own or collectives consisting of three or fewer qualified patients or their caregivers.” Huizar, who originally backed the ban, believes that if these petitioners “cared about legitimately ill patients, they would be in Sacramento demanding changes to a lax state law that allows recreational users and profiteers to dominate the market.”