Los Angeles City Council members are presenting two different proposals for medical marijuana collective bans. Councilman Paul Koretz wants to allow 100 approved collectives in the city, banning the rest. Councilman Jose Huizar wants to take a more conservative approach, banning all dispensaries in the city of LA.
While their proposals differ, both of the councilmen agree that the city’s 2010 medical marijuana ordinance is not working. The ordinance requires collectives to have specific hours of operation, not advertise, have security staff, not be in a residential area, and more. While the ordinance is good in theory, it has proven very difficult for the city to regulate and enforce.
Speaking to Huffington Post, Councilman Huizar’s director of communications, Rick Coca, explained that an outright ban of collectives is the “cleanest and easiest way” to deal with the city’s current problem. Huizar’s proposal would ban collectives, but would still allow patients to grow their own medicine or have a caregiver grow medical marijuana for them.
Councilman Koretz, however, has called the outright ban “vicious” and “heartless” in a letter to Huffington Post. Koretz’s planning deputy, Chris Koontz, has explained that there are a number of collectives that have been in compliance since 2005, and as such those collectives deserve to keep their doors open. He wants to ban all dispensaries that have not been in compliance since the start. Aside from fairness to collective owners who have diligently followed the regulations, Koretz also acknowledges that expecting patients to grow their own quality medicine is unrealistic.
Los Angeles’ current ordinance remains in a gray area, due to the fact that it is very similar to Long Beach’s ordinance, which was deemed to not be legally sound. Last year, an appeals court struck down aspects of Long Beach’s 5.87 ordinance that aimed to regulate collectives, including their lottery system for providing permits. The Long Beach ordinance is now set to be reviewed by the California Supreme Court, and the Los Angeles City Council essentially is in limbo until that decision comes through.
Last year Huizar stated, “Because Long Beach’s ordinance is very similar to LA’s ordinance, the Long Beach ruling deems our ordinance unenforceable.”
Both of the councilman’s proposed bans have been sent back to committee, but they hope that they will be voted on by other council members in a matter of weeks. Should either proposal pass, it will take almost one month to go into effect in the city.