LA City Council repeals medical marijuana ban

Casey Delich

The Los Angeles City Council reversed the medicinal marijuana dispensary ban that was approved in July but never enacted on Oct. 3.

Before the ban was ever able to be implemented, multiple organizations including Americans for Safe Access and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 protested and initiated signature programs for the ban to be overturned.

This action by the council leaves the city without any rules and regulations regarding the maintaining of dispensaries in the city.

By collecting tens of thousands of signatures, 50,000 by ASA’s estimates, well over the minimum 27,425 needed, the City Council was put to a decision on whether to rescind the ban or put it on the March ballot.

While the original ban is no longer going into effect, council members promised to find other ways to shut down what they consider a problem in Los Angeles neighborhoods.  Local council member Mitch Englander called on prosecuting pot dispensaries for violating zoning laws, while other members still pushed for a restriction on which shops can stay open.

According to Englander’s website, in LA, any property use that is not explicitly identified in the zoning code is not permitted without a code variance, including retail marijuana stores. Therefore, all existing marijuana shops are now operating in violation of the city’s zoning code.

“The city must enforce our existing laws in order to address the crime and other negative impacts on our neighborhoods of the illegal retail marijuana businesses,” said Englander in a press release.

With multiple new ordinances put on the dispensaries since 2007, the city has dealt with hundreds of lawsuits from owners, according to published reports from the District Attorney’s Office.