Medical Pot Lives to Fight Another Day in LA

Medical Pot Lives to Fight Another Day in LA

By McCarton Ackerman 08/31/12

MMJ activists produce a 50,000-signature petition—so the city council must either end its plan to close dispensaries or hold a referendum.

Image: 
Advocates who've been holding their breath
can now exhale.
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Medical marijuana activists in LA have won their fight to halt the city's planned ban on pot dispensaries—for now. The ban was set to go into effect next week, but has been suspended after activists produced a petition of more than 50,000 signatures in protest. If at least 27,425 of the signatures are verified, the City Council has 20 days to choose either to repeal the ban or to put it to voters on a March, 2013 ballot. The ban—which was set to shut down 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, allowing only groups of three or fewer marijuana patients to grow weed in their homes—is backed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck. However, a basic one-light "grow at home" tent, running at upwards of $5,000, is cost-prohibitive for many users. “We understand and appreciate the need for strict rules and regulations regarding dispensaries. But the outright ban went too far, and will result in many sick and infirm patients suffering needlessly," says Gary Carver, one medical marijuana user who signed the petition. "What we need is a thoughtful policy that allows us to get our medicine and protects communities, not a shortsighted ban that causes us pain and thwarts the will of the people.”