LA City Council holds marathon debate on pot shops - delays vote

Listen to story

Download this story 0MB

For the second time in as many weeks, the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday delayed a vote on a new ordinance that would regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. The council spent more than seven hours debating the new regulations.

Most council members expressed support for allowing medical marijuana patients to offer cash to dispensaries for their pot – without calling that exchange a sale.

But the council disagreed on a host of other issues, including whether to require pot shops to grow their marijuana on site. Councilman Jose Huizar said they should.

“We are encouraging a black market by leaving it open as to whether we can or cannot control where they get their marijuana," said Huizar. "This is a dangerous path and I don’t want to be a part of it.”

Councilman Paul Koretz said its impractical to demand dispensaries grow their marijuana on site.

“You have dispensaries that are in small retail locations," said Koretz. "They might be appropriate for dispensing marijuana but they might not be large enough or appropriate enough for actually growing it.”

The council returns to the issue next week.

It’ll also discuss limits on the number of pot dispensaries. Proposals range from 70 to 200 - far lower than the estimated 900 that operate in the city now.

The council also asked city staff to look at how cash-strapped LA might tax dispensaries.