Medical Marijuana Advocates Plan Strategy Against LA Dispensary Ban

While Los Angeles officials were working out exactly how to phrase a letter to 762 registered pot dispensaries ordering them to shut down, medical marijuana advocates vowed Wednesday to overturn the City Council’s newly approved ban on the stores.

The ban was approved unanimously on Tuesday after hours of debate and years of consternation over the growing number of pot shops in the city.

The council’s action followed a seemingly contradictory 9-5 vote on a proposal that would allow 182 marijuana dispensaries that registered with the city under a 2007 ordinance to remain in operation. But the specifics of that proposal still need to be written and reviewed – a process that could take months.

Councilman Jose Huizar, who championed the pot-shop ban, had said the exemption for the 182 dispensaries would give “false hope” to medical marijuana advocates.

On Wednesday, his spokesman Rick Coca sought to clarify that there’s only one ordinance right now: A ban that is slated to go into effect within 40 days.

The new ordinance allows groups of up to three patients and their caregivers to grow their own medical marijuana, and it provides an exemption for hospices, licensed clinics and home-health agencies.

City officials were discussing Wednesday whether to send a notice to the 762 registered pot shops from the Los Angeles Police Department or from the City Attorney’s Office.

It’s also unclear which shops will be targeted first, in case some refuse to shut down. “Enforcement priorities” will be determined by LAPD, City Attorney’s Office spokesman Frank Mateljan said.

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