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City Council Plan Would Close Dispensaries, Allow Patients To Grow Medical Marijuana

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CBS Los Angeles (con't)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — City lawmakers on Tuesday will consider a proposal that would close medical marijuana dispensaries while allowing for patients to grow and share their own marijuana through collectives.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports any decision is likely to be an interim move until the California Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of whether city laws can regulate dispensaries.

Two weeks after the City Council pushed the proposals back to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, lawmakers are scheduled to vote on whether to impose an outright ban or alternative legislation that would leave a fraction of the dispensaries open out of the estimated 1,000 currently operating citywide.

Television personality and former talk show host Montel Williams has been an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana, claiming he uses marijuana to control pain from multiple sclerosis that prescription drugs simply cannot stop.

“Every single day — and I will do so every day ’til the day I drop dead,” said Williams. “I am a card-carrying marijuana user.”

Some exasperated council members have even proposed a “limited immunity” approach that would offer a homegrown alternative for medical marijuana patients.

City Council member Paul Koretz told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO he rejects the notion of any so-called “gentle ban” that would make it harder for those seriously ill patients to access the drug.

“There’s two competing proposals: the one by Jose Huizar is the one known as the ‘gentle ban’, which I think is actually a vicious, heartless ban, not a gentle ban,” said Koretz. “That one would say that you have to find the marijuana seeds yourself and then grow it yourself, which is practical for virtually nobody.”

Koretz is endorsing a plan to leave about 100 dispensaries open that have previously signaled a willingness to work with regulators toward providing medical marijuana under state law while still complying with city guidelines.

Los Angeles passed an ordinance in 2010 to regulate the number and location of marijuana dispensaries, but that law and others remain in limbo ahead of a decision by the state Supreme Court whether dispensaries are permitted under the voter initiative in 1996 that legalized growing and possession for medicinal purposes.

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