CITY COUNCIL RESCINDS POT SHOP BAN, BUT DEA IS STILL LURKING

Today, the City Council stuck its tail between its legs a rescinded its own ban on medical marijuana dispensaries (with a shockingly un-unanimous 11-2 vote), after activists and unions gathered enough signatures to put the issue to voters. And so we’re left where we started.

Except we’re not because the DEA is in town. Kate Linthicum of the LA Times writes:

Council members say they are hoping that a new federal crackdown on L.A. dispensaries may accomplish what they hoped to achieve with their ban. “That is our relief,” Councilman Jose Huizar said of the federal action, which began last week with raids on several dispensaries. Dozens of other pot shops were sent letters, ordering them to close.

The city may also seek to shut down dispensaries on its own by prosecuting operators for violating city land use laws.

Last Wednesday, the feds shut down a few pot shops and sent letters to a dozen more. Activists will likely blame President Obama for this, but remember, it was City Council who first invited the feds to help with our little weed problem. It would seem as though they are at least partially in control of the crackdown. The question is, how far will the Narcos go?

From the looks of things, pretty far. The LA Weekly’s Dennis Romero pointed out a Daily Journal article (trapped behind a paywall) that quotes Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office as saying: “Our stated goal has been to have all illegal marijuana stores closed, and we have been working toward that goal across our district.”

But illegally is in the eye of the beholder. Many law enforcement officials think that all pot shops are illegal– even the ones that don’t make a profit (another word that’s in the eye of the beholder).

Meanwhile, Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who’s been undergoing cancer treatment (and smoking medical marijuana), made an emotional return to City Council today, urging his colleagues to rescind the ban, saying “Where does anybody go, even a councilman go, to get his medical marijuana?”

If the DEA continues its crackdown, he may have to find out.

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