Monday, July 30, 2012

What's Next for Medical Marijuana in L.A.? Advocates Plan to Take it to the People.

Medical marijuana access advocates may have been handed a defeat with their recent battle with the L.A. City Council's blanket ban on dispensaries, but they have their eyes on winning the war.

L.A. officials are crowing about the ban, with Jane Usher from the City Attorney's Office telling, "We do expect tremendous voluntary cooperation. Nobody likes to be the subject of a criminal prosecution. The harder cases, we'll work with LAPD. We'll be complaint driven. We'll only pursue those dispensaries that are disrupting their neighborhoods."

But after the vote that banned the dispensaries, the city council then voted for 182 of the storefronts to remain open. The process could take months and Americans for Safe Access is also planning on a ballot initiative to overturn the ban.

Don Duncan, California director of Americans for Safe Access states, "The tens of thousands of patients harmed by this vote will not take it sitting down. We will campaign forcefully to overturn this poor decision by the council."

In the meantime, some dispensaries are referring their patients to stores in other, pot-friendly cities outside of the L.A. City Council's reach, such as West Hollywood.

So despite the efforts of some in Los Angeles, a blanket ban still faces an uphill fight — and very well may be thrown out by the voters, while patients are inconvenienced by having to drive further for their medicine.

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