Los Angeles City Council Votes to Repeal Pot Shop Ban

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A bid from medical marijuana activists to get Los Angeles’ new ban on pot shops overturned prompted the City Council to repeal its controversial measure Tuesday.

The preliminary 11-2 vote marked yet another twist in the on-going saga of the city’s struggle to regulate and control the burgeoning population of marijuana dispensaries — estimated to number between 472 and more than 1,000. Before the council was a referendum submitted — along with more than 49,000 signatures — that would have asked voters to overturn the so-called “gentle ban” on pot shops that the council approved in July.

The council could have voted to place the referendum on the ballot or to repeal the ban; it chose the latter course.

The pot shop ban, authored by Councilman Jose Huizar, prohibited storefront pot shops but allowed collectives of three or fewer patients to grow their own pot, and it had an exception for licensed caregivers. Patient groups and medical marijuana advocates had vowed immediately to get the ban overturned. The referendum from the Committe to Protect Patients and Neighborhoods was certified by the City Clerk last month.

At Tuesday’s hearing, council members lamented the situation they’re in, saying they need help from Sacramento legislators to clarify murky state law regulating the sale of medical marijuana in the wake of the 1996 passage of Proposition 215.

Props: NBC Los Angeles