For a long time it has been clear that the Los Angeles city council opposed medical marijuana dispensaries, and yesterday it escalated its fight against them to a new level. In a unanimous 14-0 vote the council decided to ban all dispensaries within the city. From the LA Times:
Under the ban, each of the 762 dispensaries that have registered with the city will be sent a letter ordering them to shut down immediately. Those that don’t comply may face legal action from the city.
Medical marijuana activists who had packed the council chambers jeered when the vote came down. More than a dozen Los Angeles Police Department officers were called in to quell them.
Under the ban, medical patients and their caregivers will be able to grow and share the drug in small groups of three people or less.
In a separate move the Council also voted to have city officials draft a separate proposal that could potentially grandfather dispensaries opened before 2007, leaving open the small possibility that the city could later amend the outright ban. If the full ban is implemented, Los Angeles with nearly four million people would be the largest municipality in the state to ban retail medical marijuana stores.
Before the ban is fully implemented, though, it will most likely be subject to numerous lawsuits. It is still an open legal question in California if the state’s medical marijuana laws allow local jurisdictions to completely ban or impose strict controls on medical marijuana dispensaries. As a result of numerous conflicting decisions on the matter in lower courts, earlier this year the California Supreme Court decided to review the issue. It could be a year before the state Supreme Court makes a final ruling on the matter.