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Fixing LA’s problems with pot dispensaries

by AirTalk®

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Reed Moran smells a variety of marijuana shown to him by President and CEO Sam Humeid (L) of the Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California David McNew/Getty Images

Feeling a little dazed and confused about the ban on L.A. area medical marijuana dispensaries? You’re not alone.

At the onset, the dispensaries were allowed to open up shop, but then the city council tried to regulate them. After regulation didn’t go over so well they tried to ban them altogether and now that ban has been overturned.

In L.A., medical marijuana has found its foothold of supporters who are finding just enough motivation to sign petitions and gain political allies to force a ballot referendum. On the other hand, the city is finding that there are little to no resources available to properly regulate the dispensaries and to police their closures. So now the city council has found itself at a fork in the road—they must decide if it should put that referendum on the ballot and hope to persuade voters to oppose it. Or, should it lift the ban altogether and focus on drafting the provisions and ordinances that would both allow for medical marijuana patients to use the shops and at the same time curb the over-proliferation in poorly regulated neighborhoods?

Did the city act too quickly in opening and closing of marijuana dispensaries? Can a middle ground be reached between keeping them open and at the same time curbing the saturation in certain neighborhoods? What lessons can be learned from the proliferation of liquor stores in L.A.?


Frank Stoltze, KPCC Reporter

Jessica Levinson, Professor at Loyola Law School, teaching election law; former Director of Political Reform at the Center for Governmental Studies

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