City Government Medical Marijuana

LA City Council Says Yes to Medical Marijuana


After a meeting that lasted seveTuesday, the LA City Council decided to act sensibly by voting to allow retail dispensaries
to continue selling medical marijuana. According to John Hoeffel of the LA Times, the Los Angeles City Council is also strongly considering a draft ordinance that may cap the number of shops in the city between 70 and 200.

The CC did not not shy away from going head to head with LA’s city attorney, Carmen Trutanich, over the regulations and the interpretation of the law.

Here’s more from Hoeffel.

City Atty. Carmen Trutanich and L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley had pressed the council to explicitly ban the sale of marijuana, saying that the state’s medical marijuana laws do not allow it and citing several recent court decisions to back up their argument.

The contentious issue snarled the council’s efforts to develop an ordinance, with members caught for months between their desire to provide access to marijuana for patients who need it and their reluctance to reject the advice of their own attorney.

But the council stripped out language that would bar sales and replaced it with a provision that would allow “cash contributions, reimbursements and compensations” for actual expenses, as long as they comply with state law. The law has been interpreted differently by medical marijuana advocates and law enforcement officials….

There’s more.

Sanity prevails.

PS: It is interesting to see where City Council member Dennis Zine was on the issue in this interview two and a half years ago, when the city was planning to settle on regulations immanently.


  • I agree with your take on this Celeste – as well as on the previous post, that Reyes (and Koretz) are actually voices of reason on this. Caught some of the replay yesterday, and was struck by how deceptive Jane Usher was in telling the Council that State Atty General Brown agreed with them (Cooley/ Trutanich and their mouthpieces Bill Carter and Usher), that all sales were illegal. But in fact she quoted from a KFI commenter’s biased analysis of Brown’s comments, to make her assertion that Brown agreed with her; the part she quoted from Brown HIMSELF only confirmed what everyone else says, including Koretz and Reyes and many patient advocates: that the court rulings are confusing, but do NOT ban sales outright. (NONE of the Councilmembers caught this huge distinction. And it reminded me of Carter’s semantic game in trying to deny Chick’s lawyer Fred Woocher ANY fee, claiming her misstatement once that he was “pro bono” proved he always intended to work for free – does ANYONE believe that?) In fact, the People vs. Hochanagel ruling both sides referred to, from Aug. of this year, states that all sales must be taxed, for profit or not; Usher argued (maybe correctly on this one) that this doesn’t necessarily approve of non-profit sales, only that IF they’re occurring, they must be taxed. (Which sounds like a weasily position to take, but it IS all murky.)

    Then there’s the Mensch case that Trutanich/ Cooley refer to as banning sales, but it doesn’t, it only limits who can be a legally-sanctioned “caregiver,” since that’s been used so loosely it can apply to someone buying pot for lots of people they have no other connection to – that’s it. (I’ve actually been reading up on some of this including from the blogs of the ASA – Americans for Safe Access – whose head also has another blog,

    Then there’s one that was even reprinted in the conservative NC blog, L A CityWatch ( – which carries some of yours too, like that Trutantich, Taggers, and the Madness of Really Bad Injunctions.

    They also had the YouTube of Trutanich screaming at and making crazy-sounding threats and arguments to a female patient trying to refute his claims that Calif. pot was laced with toxins and Mexican fire ants. SHE was at the hearing yesterday, too, describing this incident, about how he went right upto her face and she could literally see Trutanich foaming at the mouth, and feared what he’s capable of especially to women, with his anger management issues. IF I were part of their advocacy community, I’d also do a YouTube of that.

    Another compelling patient who regularly appears is a Cheryl — whose blog (the one I saw in CityWatch) is well-argued and sincere, and emphasizes the disappointment with Trutanich – who they call FALSETanich – in using their labor and money to campaign FOR him while all along planning to throw them under the truck. Cheryl likens their advocacy community with Laura Chick and the Controller Issue on this. (And throws in the shakedown of AEG counter to contractual obligation as another case where Trutanich is as fierce and grandstanding as he is wrong.)

    Koretz made some good points, like objecting to the notion that which shops would be allowed to continue, should be chosen at random, instead of giving priority to those 186 (about 120 still in business) which opened early on, not the ones who snuck in misusing “hardship extensions.”

    It’s nuts that Cooley and Trutanich want to turn these people into felons – as you note in the earlier link to Zine’s comments, not too consistent at a time when the state prisons are releasing many on early parole because they’re over-crowded. (INTERESTING to remember how Zine asked the feds to lay off the shops in his district, but he’s since become joined at the hip to fellow Republicans Cooley and Trutanich. EXCEPT he again seems to have backed off their extreme position, trying to take credit for some “middle ground” he cooks up and names after himself with a motion, like he did with SO40. Ah, the political machinations make the head spin.)

    There’s no doubt there are WAY too many shops now and many in the wrong places, e.g. allegedly 13 on a stretch of Melrose between Fairfax and Highland, in walking distance to Fairfax and Hollywood Highs. BUT throwing out the baby with the bathwater at this point as “the only sure way to solve the problem,” as Carter and Usher argued, is wrong and guarantees class-action lawsuits on a number of fronts from shops that have been operating for years with permits.

    As to how many is “right,” Koretz questioned Huizar’s wanting to limit them to 70, 2 per each community plan area, saying that would result in too few “large Costco’s of dispensaries.” But right now a few council districts, mainly Hollywood and Westside, have 50-60, often on one street like Melrose or Sepulveda. And maybe large places aren’t all bad: the one featured in the LATimes up north, which had Tai-chi, yoga, acupuncture, chiropractor and other mainstream treatment options under one roof, along with plenty of private security, looked pretty professional and appealing.

  • Don Duncan of ASA (Americans for Safe Access) caught the same intentional conflation by Usher of KFI’s conservative biased and FALSE/ made-up “summary” of Brown’s comments with what he actually said, and expands on other cases with the City Attorney and top staff have given the Council false “advice” intended to steer them toward their own pre-ordained point of view on this topic. (ALSO on the Controller issue, I might add, and we’ve discussed the graffiti “hanging” injunction.) Duncan’s report is on his blog,, 11/25. This is extremely concerning because Trutanich and his top aides are just not doing their basic and only fundamental job, of giving the council fair, balanced advice instead of propagandizing for their own political purposes and aspirations. Plus he’s threatened to sue his “bosses”/ cum-clients incl. Jan Perry and numerous others for even questioning him. When this means that the council has to wing it when it comes to legal advice or hire outside counsel despite the multi-billion dollar dept. with some 550 lawyers, this is very bad for us as taxpayers and citizens and seems like grounds for discipline or recall. (Although in general I agree with a recent LATimes article that people in Calif. use the recall threat WAY too loosely just because they don’t like someone: in this case, the guy’s misusing his job.)

    Duncan is himself falsely depicted by the LA Weekly as part of their own KFI-like biased spin on facts, in the current article by Patrick Range McDonald on “Weed, Weed” (didn’t check exact title) of the same date, and there are almost 80 comments, many taking him to task for depicting Duncan as some unethical profiteer who’s leading Reyes by the nose. (Dennis Romero had a similar article a few days ago: as always with Jill Stewart, whether it’s anti-Bratton or anti-Weiss and of course, always anti-Antonio, or pro-Trutanich and Cooley, if a topic is worth spinning once, it’s worth doing a half-dozen times.)

  • I’ll take a look at all this, WBC. Thanks for the heads up. (I admit, I go for for days deliberately ignoring the Weekly.)

    Thanks also for the First Amendment notes on the Thanksgiving thread.

  • Good to hear you’ll give it your professional look-see, well worth your trouble. The Weekly piece is “L A’s Medical-Weed Wars,” co-signed by the usually more professional Christine Pelisek somewhat suprisingly – maybe at Stewart’s insistence, to give the thing more cred, even at the expense of hers?

  • ???????? ?????????? ?????????? ? ???????????????? ?????????? ??: ???????? ?????????? ? ?????????, ???????? ??????, ?????????? ????? ????????????? ? ???????????? ???????, ? ????? ????????????? ?????????.

Leave a Comment