Marijuana Dispensary Ban Passed by L.A. Committee: Only One Vote Left Before Pot Shops Wiped Out
Update, June 21: Word is that the L.A. City Council will postpone tomorrow's vote -- an apparent ploy to wear down the opposition.
Andrew Hecht Is this the end?
You've heard it before: The L.A. City Council is trying to ban all marijuana dispensaries from the streets of Los Angeles.
But things just got real. Councilman Jose Huizar's proposal was solidified into an ordinance today -- meaning only one single meeting on July 22 stands between our current pot-shop utopia and their total extermination.
So if this were a horror movie...
... the killer would be right outside our window. He's spent months plotting the murder and tracking us down, and right now, at this moment, the only thing stopping him is a single pane of glass.
Not to be dramatic or anything. But L.A.'s pot industry means a lot to a lot of people. Here are some notes we took from a public-comment period on May 17:
Don Lewis, a wheelchair-bound man with MS, said that if the Huizar ordinance goes into effect, "I'm going to be forced into, I don't know, MacArthur Park. If I have to take Percocet, do I get that from MacArthur Park?"
Other tear-jerkers included Rosie Solis, who remembered her dying father "telling me at his last moments that he didn't want to be under heavy medication because he wanted to be able to talk to us, his six children," and dispensary employee Aaron Justice, who said Huizar's ordinance would "push patients back into the underground and turn regular Americans back into criminals."
Still, three out of the four councilmembers who sit on the committee voted yes on the ordinance.
On a somewhat positive note, they also voted to send an alternate proposal by Councilman Paul Koretz -- which would let a limited number of legit, non-neighborhood-blighting pot shops stay open -- to council floor. But unfortunately, it's lagging behind, and still needs a vetting by both the L.A. city attorney (who somehow hates weed even more than street artists) and another committee before it becomes voteable.
So if the council passes Huizar's stricter ordinance in two weeks, there's no hope left for the gentle one. Hundreds of dispensaries will be forced to shut down.
Ironically, Huizar calls his version a "gentle ban." That's because pot patients would still be able to grow and acquire their medicine through individual caregivers. However, almost every pot patient who's showed up to City Hall to testify has said the "gentle ban" would make life impossible.
It's tough to tell whether the 15-member City Council will give a final stamp of approval to the ordinance on July 22. We know of two councilmembers who will definitely vote "No," and we know of four who will definitely vote "Yes" -- but the other nine remain a mystery.
One thing's for sure: This City Council meeting is going to be off the hook.
See you there, stoners. Your only homework is to read LA Weekly's definitive "Medical Marijuana Ban in L.A.? City Officials Botched Regulation, Now Want Prohibition."