City of L.A. asking DA, feds for help shutting down medical marijuana clinics

August 21, 2012

Rick Orlov, LA Daily News

Even as the city's ban on medical marijuana is facing legal and political challenges, the City Council on Wednesday asked local and federal law enforcement agencies to develop new strategies to enforce the shutdown.

"We need to get out of the way of law enforcement," Councilman Bernard Parks said of his request asking the Los Angeles Police Department to coordinate with the district attorney and Drug Enforcement Administration on an enforcement policy.

"Federal law is clear. State law is clear," said Parks, a former L.A. police chief. "State law allows collectives. It does not allow for the sale of marijuana."

The City Council recently adopted a proposal to close down all the medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city as of next month and the City Attorney's Office sent a letter to landlords advising them of the law.

However, a lawsuit has been filed challenging the city measure and proponents of medical marijuana have been working to qualify a referendum challenging the law.

Parks said he tried to introduce a similar measure five years ago, but action was never taken on it.

Kris Hermes, spokesman for the pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access, said they were surprised by the action.

"This proposal is unsettling to have local government work with the federal government to undermine a state law," Hermes said.

"We have maintained that passing a total ban is illegal and we're in statecourt fighting that and are collecting signatures on our referendum. We expect to qualify it in early September when the new city law is scheduled to take effect."

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