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Mayor Signs Pot Shop Ban

Opponents of the storefront ban said it will be lethal for patients with terminal illnesses.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday signed an ordinance banning storefront medical marijuana dispensaries, calling it the city's best option to preserve access to medical marijuana in the city.

The Los Angeles City Council , which allows for individuals or their caregivers to grow and transport marijuana. It also allows for up to three patients or caregivers to collectively grow and share cannabis in homes or apartments, but not storefronts.

The law includes exemptions for hospices and licensed clinics, as well as facilities and home health agencies where patients get "medical care or supportive services."

The ordinance will eliminate a significant source of revenue for the city, which is facing a $200 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year. Dispensaries generated $2.5 million in tax revenue for the city from 2011 gross receipts, according to Ben Ceja, a finance specialist in the City Administrative Office.

"This ordinance is our best option to preserve access to medical marijuana for patients while protecting public safety and quality of life for all Angelenos," Villaraigosa said. "We look forward to a clarification from the state Supreme Court on this vague and ambiguous (state) law so the city can
effectively plan for the future."

The ban also has the support of Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck, who told the City Council last week that the overwhelming number of clinics have become for-profit operations that attract crime.

Villaraigosa and other City Council members say a shifting legal landscape has made it nearly impossible to control the number of pot shops in the city, estimated to be around 1,000. Poorly written state law gave cities no direction on how to regulate the distribution of marijuana, according to supporters of the ban.

With the mayor's signature, the ordinance will go into effect in 31 days.

The 792 dispensaries registered to pay city taxes will receive a letter from the city notifying them of the new ordinance and ordering them to close.

The city will then go to court to seek closure orders for those that do not shut down, starting with the "bad actors," the dispensaries that have generated the largest number of complaints from residents.

In a contradictory move, the council last week also agreed to move forward with a plan by Councilman Paul Koretz and Council President Herb Wesson that would allow up to 182 dispensaries that existed prior to 2007 -- when the council placed a moratorium on new dispensaries -- to operate under tightened regulations.

All other dispensaries would be forced to close under the proposal, which has strong support from the United Food and Commercial Workers union. The plan, however, is still months away from being ready.

Opponents of the storefront ban said it will be lethal for patients with terminal illnesses who cannot grow marijuana on their own because it is costly and requires extensive training.

Americans For Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, vowed to get a referendum on the March citywide election ballot to repeal the law.

"The tens of thousands of patients harmed by this vote will not take it sitting down," Americans for Safe Access California Director Don Duncan said after the vote. "We will campaign forcefully to overturn this poor decision by the council."

To get the referendum on the March 5 primary ballot, the group would need to present 27,425 valid petition signatures to the City Clerk by Sept. 21, or on Dec. 7 to make the May 21 general election.

xnewfaces August 02, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I could see the tumble weeds coming...
Another WorldView August 03, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Whether it was taking rides on the CountryWide Mortgages Corporate Jet, selling- out the South Central Farmers, or unilaterally evicting the Occupiers from City Hall -'Pendejo Vendido ' - thy name is Villaraigosa! This should come as no surprise. Dude thinks that by selling out the 1%'ers, the right-wingers, and gung-ho Drug Warriors, that he'll be able to buy himself a future in politics somewhere.... Not likely.
Another WorldView August 03, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Don't count your chickens before they're hatched!
coolguitar August 03, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Notice they never want to.close them all its always a war between the older clubs and the new ones competing. Old money.vs new money looks like old money has the lead . Paul kortz and paul wesson i wonder if the original 182 clubs are on your lobbyist list? Sounds like they benefit most from this? How about instead of grandfathering the biggest criminals who made most money and shutting down.theyre competition why not make it fair? Oh yea no money in fair money is in grandfathering.in these cash cows and limiting.the competition. Great curruption in all levels of goverment ! These people should run for higher office we need you guys so you will fit in with most law makers . Whoever has most money wins huh ? I hope you are happy working for the mob !
Another WorldView August 03, 2012 at 11:00 PM
You're right-on there CG. Not only do they wind up rewarding the folks who charged- in, and just set-up shop - like the "wild West" as they like to put it; penalizing those who came-in later, or waited for the Court cases to come out in favor of MMJ before starting a "business" - but they are eliminating the competition for the EME (who hate the shops too, apparently), and traditional "dealers" (who don't hang-out a shingle). It would be interesting to see if the EME are laundering drug-money, through any of these City Council candidates' campaigns (Huizar???). The History of the collaboration between the CIA and the Drug gangs is fairly well established, over the various decades, and with the various gangs and mafias - from the Golden Triangle to Bolivia's Cocaine Coup and Colombia's death squads, to cartels and the contras. What few people understand is the close relationship between the CIA and the LAPD's "intelligence" unit - which leads right into the top brass. I'm sure they all prefer to run their secret wars at a profit - without any white or gray market competition.
Another WorldView August 03, 2012 at 11:11 PM
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/12756-focus-cocaine-cowboys-know-best-places-to-bank

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