LA Council Repeals Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to repeal a city-wide ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, thwarting a referendum on the measure. The battle over medical marijuana has come to a head in LA, where some 1,000 dispensaries emerged after a ballot initiative legalized prescriptions of the drug statewide in 1996, but some city legislators and federal prosecutors oppose the city’s industry.

The LA Council passed a measure in July to prohibit dispensaries in the city, claiming that the sheer number of shops has made the industry impossible to regulate. In response, advocates collected the required number of signatures to hold a referendum on the initiative, and the council had the option to either repeal the ban or allow a referendum.

Last week, federal prosecutors started targeting shops in Los Angeles, and some council members said they hoped the crackdown would achieve what they were hoping to achieve through the ban. Not so for Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who has been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. He said before the vote, “Where does anybody go, even a councilman go, to get his medical marijuana?”