LA City Council set to consider new rules for pot shops

November 21, 2009

Frank Stoltze, KPCC

Medical marijuana activists are closely following the LA City Council's deliberations. "I am encouraged to see what direction the City Councils going right now," said Don Duncan, California Director of Americans for Safe Access.

Last week, City Council members said they didn't like the City Attorney's advice to ban cash compensation for pot at dispensaries. That's important, said Duncan.

"If we prohibit medical cannabis collectives from providing the medicine in exchange for reimbursements, which is essentially a sale, then what we're doing is we're creating a model that doesn't provide medicine for patients," he said.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley has vowed to prosecute operations that sell pot. He believes any exchange of money for pot that's not between a medical marijuana patient and his or her primary caregiver is illegal.

City Councilman Ed Reyes, who has played a key role in crafting the proposed regulations, maintains pot patients in the city should be allowed to buy their marijuana.

"I think Mr. Cooley has his direction. I believe we have ours to serve our community, our city," said Reyes.

The city council's also considering capping the number of cannabis dispensaries at 70. Right now, nearly a thousand operate in LA. Medical marijuana activists say they would support a cap, but believe it should be set at closer to 400.

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