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Huizar Makes Headway on Medical Marijuana Ban

The Council member's motion now goes before the City's Planning Commission.

A motion to suspend Los Angeles' medical marijuana ordinance ahead of a possible citywide ban on marijuana facilities moved one step closer to a judgment day before the City Council.

The motion—proposed by —would indefinitely shutter Los Angeles' approximately 300 medical marijuana dispensaries, while still allowing authorized patients to grow their own marijuana or have a certified caregiver do so for them.

The City Council's Public Safety Committee on Friday forwarded the proposed motion to the City Council and Planning Commission after hearing testimony from local law enforcement officials, including LAPD Northeast Division Capt. Bill Murphy and Eagle Rock Senior Lead Officer Craig Orange. 

The Planning Commission next meets on Thursday, January 26.

According to Huizar, his motion is in response to the California Second District Court of Appeal's finding last year in the case of Pack vs. the City of Long Beach. The court ruled in the case that Long Beach's medical marijuana ordinance, which is similar to L.A.’s, violated federal law by attempting to regulate the sale of a federally banned drug.

The ruling declares that states are only allowed to decriminalize marijuana, not regulate it. Although the issue is currently before the California Supreme Court, the appellate ruling is binding for now.

Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr ruled on October 14 that L.A.’s marijuana ordinance is valid and that its enforcement cannot be challenged by as many as 29 dispensaries that had sued the City over the issue. But Mohr also advised the City to revisit the ordinance to determine whether it can withstand a preemptory challenge in light of the Pack vs. Long Beach ruling and the fact that the L.A. ordinance has a provision for a lottery for dispensaries and other regulatory mechanisms.

“Given that we were advised by our City Attorney that we currently have an unenforceable ordinance, we are in a place where we were before we had an ordinance [when] we had a proliferation of dispensaries throughout the city, and with that proliferation came an impact on the quality of life in local communities,” Huizar said when

Huizar, who helped craft L.A.'s ordinance, has long expressed his frustration with state laws regarding the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, which have prevented local regulation, including zoning. In December, he was joined in his criticism of the state's flawed marijuana laws by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who wrote a letter to state legislators, urging them to address what she said was "the exploitation of California's medical marijuana laws by gangs, criminal enterprises and others." (See attached pdf for details of the attorney general's letter.)

There are an estimated 15 medical marijuana facilities in Eagle Rock (as well as adjoining Glassell Park), and two dispensaries in Highland Park.

Aaron Foster January 22, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Great question Barry. I'll refer you to this article that discusses that http://www.eastbayexpress.com/LegalizationNation/archives/2012/01/19/medical-marijuana-activists-cheer-california-supreme-court-decision-to-review-dispensary-bans I hope that helps. I'd love to hear more answers to your question as well. Since I am not a lawyer, it would be great to hear from someone more qualified spell out exactly the meaning of the ruling. Quoting that article (I hope that is okay on this forum), "Cities and counties can no longer use Pack to ban clubs, said Americans for Safe Access legal counsel Joe Elford. “We're very pleased that local governments will now be unable to use appellate court decisions to deny patients access to medical marijuana in their own communities." AA
Pat January 22, 2012 at 05:38 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlA8rwpC-TY So what's that I hear about the cartel? There are HOMELESS people (including female and elderly) STARVING on every other block in Eagle Rock and Huizar and his boy wonder-Michael Larsen can stop talking about trivial statistics on pot shots? HELLOOOO??? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlA8rwpC-TY
John February 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Please ask the City Council to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate unhindered in the City of Los Angeles. The best course of action for The City of Los Angeles is to take no action regarding medical marijuana dispensaries. The City should not allocate any funds or resources whatsoever for the enforcement of marijuana laws. The City should make no laws, ordinances, or regulations regarding the sale, possession, distribution, or use of marijuana by adults over the age of 18. Medical marijuana dispensaries should be taxed and licensed the same as any other business operating in the city. Federal marijuana laws are arbitrary, hypocritical, unfair, and prejudicial and serve no worthwhile purpose other than to make criminals of otherwise law-abiding, tax-paying voters. It is not the job of the LAPD to enforce these stupid, malicious, costly, and heartbreaking federal regulations. Medical marijuana dispensaries have operated in legal limbo for over six years in Los Angeles. Contrary to what the council and city attorney would have you believe, apparently there have been hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries operating without any problems or complaints in their neighborhoods.
Michael Larsen February 11, 2012 at 03:33 AM
John, two major community groups in Eagle Rock have asked the City Council to support Mr. Huizar's Ban-Until-Regulated efforts. The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and The Eagle Rock Association both agree with you that "dispensaries should be taxed and licensed the same as any other (comparable) business operating in the city." But that cannot happen until the California Supreme Court and the California Legislature determine what regulations are allowed. Until then, we support a ban on storefront pot shops and delivery services.
joyce hong February 11, 2012 at 07:04 PM
John, the so called "gentle" ban will hurt legitimate patients who are not able to grow their own medicine. The City Attorney has created draconian regulations which have been a disaster. People who push for this "gentle" ban are disingenuous at best as their contempt for cannabis is stronger then their respect for legitimate patients. Maybe Mr. Larsen will allow patients to grow in his garage. We will have to check with his first though. It appears that other neighborhood councils do not support this Draconian ban like the ERNC does http://goo.gl/UtCkA

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