City Council Repeals Medical Marijuana Ban
Updated Oct. 9, 12:30 p.m.: City Council voted to repeal ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in an 11-1 vote Tuesday. Councilman Joe Buscaino was the only one present to oppose to repeal. Councilmembers Jose Huizar, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry who all voted to keep the ban last week were not present.
City Council President Herb Wesson said the current law "fails to respond to fundamental issues and ... has been inappropriately used as a legal shield to stymie local governments from solving many resulting problems." Yami Balanos, president of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance, one of the groups responsible for gathering 27,425 signatures to ask voters to repeal the law, said, ``We call upon the federal government to respect their position. We urge them to immediately cease and desist from the threats and intimidation tactics directed at Los Angeles operators and their landlords.''
The Los Angeles City Council met Tuesday to discuss the banning of storefront medical marijuana dispensaries.
In Tuesday's meeting, the councilmembers decided whether to repeal the "gentle ban" it enforced on dispensaries earlier this year or to let the voters decide on the March 5 ballot. In a preliminary vote, the councilman voted 11-2 in favor of the repeal. Councilman Bill Rosendahl said the medical marijuana dispensaries ban should be repealed but Councilman Jose Huizar thought otherwise.
The original ordinance by Councilman Huizar banned storefront dispensaries but allowed a few patients to grow their own pot, with the exception of licensed caregivers.
The councilmembers were presented with a referendum and over 49,000 signatures by the Committee to Protect Patients and Neighborhoods demanding voters to overturn the ban. The city originally instated the "gentle ban" on marijuana dispensaries on July 24.
Dispensary owner Omid Ghassemian said since he has multiple scoliosis and lost his medical insurance in 2009, he needs medical marijuana. "I find this much much better than going back to the chemical treatments I was getting. I was hoping I would find people that were suffering from the same thing I was suffering from, and help them."
"A lot of people come here for a lot of different things. Some people are suffering from constant pain, chronic pains, insomnia, headaches, migraines, all that stuff. There’s a variety of people,"
"There’s a lot of medical patients that use it for real medical purposes," Keith McGuffie, another dispensary owner, said. "If they get rid of most of the dispensaries, that will lead people to grow their own medical marijuana."
Curtis Moses, a Junior studying Music Industry said the voters should have the right to decide. "This is America," said Moses. "We have a democratic process and this is what it's all about."
Graduate Music student Dontaye Caruth said he understoods where the city is coming from. "If they need to cut down on people using it for recreational purposes, then that's fine. I think they just need tighter restrictions," explained Caruth.