The three-member committee includes Councilmember Jose Huizar, an outspoken opponent of dispensaries, which he claims are upsetting to his constituency of the northeastern neighborhood of Eagle Rock.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the committee also approved a counterproposal to the ban backed by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes the bohemian beachside district of Venice, the site of dozens of dispensaries. Rosendahl rightly recognizes that an outright ban of dispensaries would inevitably lead to a black-market proliferation of marijuana sales, as many patients simply do not have the time or capabilities to form mini-cultivating collectives. His counterproposal would allow about 100 dispensaries that opened prior to the moratorium put in place in 2007 to stay in business. Those dispensaries would also have to meet specific regulations limiting their locations and business hours.

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Another member of the committee, Councilmember Mitchell Englander, also supports completely outlawing dispensaries, which is unfortunate given that he is also a member of the Public Safety Committee and they will be the next to review the ban for approval before it moves on to the full City Council for a final vote.

Even if a ban is approved, it may only remain in effect until the California Supreme Court rules on a related issue; whether or not a city imposing a “lottery” to determine the number of dispensaries that may operate in fact violates federal law forbidding any type of illegal drug distribution, let alone that sanctioned by the second-largest city in America.

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