Tuesday, January 19, 2010

City Council Finally Approves the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ordinance

An ordinance to try to get control of the hundreds of "Medical Marijuana Dispensaries" is finally approved. It did not get the 12 votes needed to begin effectiveness, and so will have to wait a week for another council vote but then will only need a majority of the vote to prevail.
"L.A. City Council gives preliminary approval to pot ordinance requiring 1,000-foot buffer zones" [Updated],
January 19, 2010 1:07 pm

The story on this is still evolving and how the rest turns out will be probably another be effort to get the compliance needed that will mean shutting down hundreds of pot shops. CM Rosendahl opposed this since he did not agree with the 70 cap set for operating dispensaries. There is a real issue that no on spent much time on and that was the underlying basis for establishing the "medical conditions" that create the need for medical marijuana.

Since there are no standards it doesn't really matter, but if you were to count everyone who has a "recommendation" as state law references, you probably have a huge number. ("Prescriptions" are not issued for this drug and issuance would be against the law.) You have recommendations that really are issued on a pay-to-play basis from cooperating doctors. This is what demeans the real need that exists for medically needy patients that the law was aimed at reaching. Who sorts this out? Apparently, no one. The "recreational" users easily can get in on this process and my guess is that this is the bulk of the users who CM Rosendahl considers to be underserved. "There will be lines around the block" was a prediction from him, if I recognized his voice correctly on the audio, but why would that be?

I don't know how fast any personal user will go through each dispensed amount, and so far, I haven't heard of any limits on obtaining weed at each visit. There are no "sales" as the council considers this since "sales" are illegal under State law.

In any event, the Council, after spending numerous hearing days on this, finally has voted on an ordinance. Do not doubt that when there is a final vote to approve it, there will be a parade of Council Members praising each other for their work. The truth is that they let this fester without any serious attention until the proliferation of dispensaries began grow, causing concerns of residents. Without prodding from neighborhood councils and individuals, this would have continued to be neglected The land rush boost in the filing of applicatons for MMDs under the "exemption" happened when CM Huizar announced he would be introducing a motion to end the exemption that was being used to promote more businesses being established.

The last-minute rush to file using the "hardship exemption" was what happened to effect at least a tripling of MMDs over what was already several hundred places. So here we are, and don't take all that coming self-congratulation that CMs will spurt over this since THEY HELPED CREATE THE PROBLEM by not doing their jobs, especially in the "Planning and Land Use Management" committee, chaired by Ed Reyes. The "moratorium" created was not followed and no one in the city ever tried to seriously do much to get enforcement and end the new shops popping up.

As CM Wesson urged. To paraphrase his concerns, "We need to start somewhere and get an ordinance that can be changed to fit conditions as we see the needs arise."

Meanwhile all the other ills in the city continue.