LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Medical marijuana dispensaries will be banned in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County effective the first week of January, based on a 4-1 vote Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports

The board’s formal adoption of the ordinance barring the outlets was expected, given a 4-1 vote in favor of the ban two weeks ago.

Supervisor Michael Antonovich first proposed the ban in July, concerned that as Los Angeles and other cities crack down on dispensaries, more sellers would open up in the unincorporated areas of the county. He warned that more outlets would bring more crime to the area.

Advocates and medical marijuana patients argued for safe access to medically necessary marijuana throughout the county.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky urged the board to ask the Department of Regional Planning to consider more specific restrictions on permits for legal dispensaries, instead of an outright ban. He said that county counsel should also be directed to use the “toughest-available” enforcement mechanisms against illegal operators, including fines of up to $1,000 per day.

“A comprehensive ban is not going to achieve the objectives that all of us want to achieve,” said Yaroslavsky. “It’s the illegal ones that are creating…almost all of the problems,” he said.

A 2006 Los Angeles County ordinance prohibits dispensaries within 1,000 feet of churches, daycare centers, libraries, playgrounds and schools and requires that the businesses be permitted.

No permits have been issued for outlets in the unincorporated areas, though a handful are pending.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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