Local

Proposed LA pot law may confict with judge's opinion

In this Oct. 22, 2009 file photo, a bud of legally grown marijuana is held by a cancer patient, in Portland, Maine. It's not easy to tell the difference between legal medical marijuana and illegal recreational pot.
In this Oct. 22, 2009 file photo, a bud of legally grown marijuana is held by a cancer patient, in Portland, Maine. It's not easy to tell the difference between legal medical marijuana and illegal recreational pot.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Listen to story

00:48
Download this story 0MB

The Los Angeles City Council plans to move forward with a medical marijuana ordinance that would allow people to exchange cash for pot, despite a judge’s opinion that suggests such transactions are illegal.

Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes said that the opinion is one interpretation of a vague state law - and that it’s likely to be appealed.

In comments during a hearing involving an Eagle Rock pot shop, L.A. Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said he doesn’t believe that a storefront dispensary that sells marijuana is legal.

The council’s considering whether to allow “cash contributions, reimbursements and compensations for the actual expenses” of growing and providing medical marijuana.

But the judge said a pot shop owner could pay himself a large sum of money, call it an expense, and – in the judge’s words – “any way you slice that banana, that is the sale of marijuana for profit.”

The City Council’s debated the issue for weeks. It’s expected to vote on a new ordinance next week.

[KPCC wire services contributed to this report]