Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. City Council Repeals Pot Shop Ban

By Howard Fine Originally published October 2, 2012 at 2:04 p.m., updated October 2, 2012 at 2:36 p.m.

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted to repeal a ban on medical marijuana storefront dispensaries.

The council enacted the ban in July after complaints from residents and law enforcement officials that many of the estimated 500 to 1,000 dispensaries in the city were becoming magnets for crime.

Medical marijuana advocacy groups, dispensary owners and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 submitted 49,000 signatures to the city – nearly twice the required amount – to ask voters to overturn the ban. The council faced two options: repeal the ban or proceed with a citywide vote.

The council voted Tuesday 9-2 in favor of the repeal.

Councilmembers expressed frustration at vague and conflicting state laws and guidelines on medical marijuana dispensaries and called on state lawmakers to craft clearer policies when they return next year.

“We applaud the City Council’s decision to repeal this ban,” Yami Bolanos, president of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance, said in a statement. “Now, we call on them to work diligently on creating and passing an ordinance the preserves safe access for patients while safeguarding our neighborhoods.”