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Supes vote to ban pot shops in uninc. LA, OC

November 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Both the Los Angeles County and Orange County boards of supervisors voted Tuesday to outlaw medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas. This comes as cities like Los Angeles work to refine their laws allowing the marijuana dispensaries in their areas.The vote by supervisors in both Los Angeles County and Orange County was four to one to ban the existence of medical marijuana dispensaries.

The ban in both counties only covers marijuana outlets in the unincorporated areas. But in Los Angeles County that includes about 1 million people. Only three would-be dispensary operators have applied for permits in Los Angeles County.

One of them is Sue Taylor, president of ICann Health Center.

"If you ban, it would take people such as myself out of the loop of providing quality medicine for chronically ill patients," said Taylor.

There are supposedly unregulated marijuana dispensaries in both counties. And there are cities like Monrovia that voted unanimously to oppose allowing dispensaries to operate in that city.

Dan Kirby is a former Monrovia city councilman who voted to outlaw the medical marijuana dispensaries in his city.

"It's difficult to enforce regulations. It puts our police department at a disadvantage. And so the prudent thing, the wise thing to do, was ban them," said Kirby.

The only supervisor opposing the Los Angeles County ban was Zev Yaroslavsky. Yaroslavsky says he knows quite a few people who use marijuana to ease their pain and nausea.

"This is not some kind of a scheme or a scam, it's not some kind of a joke, this actually has a positive impact on real people who have real diseases," said Yaroslavsky.

Both Los Angeles and Orange county supervisors have one final vote on the bans. If they are finalized, the bans on medical marijuana dispensaries are scheduled to go into effect after the first of the year.

Several cities in Los Angeles County have banned dispensaries.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich said the facilities might move into unincorporated areas because cities are pushing them out. The supervisor also said that the dispensaries are a nuisance and can cause crime.

Pro-medical marijuana groups said the county hasn't experienced any problems with dispensaries and already has an ordinance in place that regulates and requires them to obtain conditional-use permits.

There are no dispensaries operating in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County with a permit, but there are some operating in violation of the county ordinance. A zone-enforcement task force is looking into closing those down.

The ban affects unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, such as Marina del Rey, Altadena, East Los Angeles and Stevenson Ranch.

Medical marijuana groups said they will fight the ban.


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