By Edwin Folven, 9/20/2012
The Los Angeles City Council must decide what to do next with its medical marijuana dispensary ban after the city clerk’s office verified Monday that activists had collected enough signatures to force a referendum on the issue.
The council can either repeal the ordinance, which was to have gone into effect on Sept. 6; call for a special election; or schedule the vote during the March 5 municipal election. Los Angeles City Clerk June Lagmay announced that the Los Angeles Collectives Alliance, which represents medical marijuana dispensaries registered with the city prior to a 2007 moratorium, had gathered 110 percent of the 27,425 necessary signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. The city council has until Oct. 7 to make a decision.
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich recently announced that enforcement of the ban has been suspended pending the verification of signatures and a decision by the council.
The city attorney’s office will, however, continue to prosecute illegal medical marijuana dispensaries under municipal land use ordinances, as the city does not recognize dispensaries as legitimate businesses.