Council Narrowly Defeats (4-5) Motion To Let 14-18 Medical Marijuana Outlets Continue Operating Till CA Supreme Court Rules On Medpot Issues; Unanswered: To What Extent Is LB's Ban On Others (Which Will Apply As Of Aug. 12 To 14-18 Currently Allowed Operators) Still Valid After LA County Court of Appeal Ruling?


(July 4, 2012) -- At its July 3 meeting, the City Council voted 4-5 (Yes: Garcia, Lowenthal, Gabelich, Neal; No: DeLong, O'Donnell, Schipske, Andrews, Johnson) to defeat a motion by Councilwoman Rae Gabelich that sought to let 18 [now 14 according to some accounts] medical marijuana outlets to continue operating past an August 12 deadline to wrap up their operations until the CA Supreme Court rules in Pack v. City of Long Beach.

But that may not be the end of it.

It's not immediately clear if LB's current ban on so-called "rogue" operators -- which as of August 12 will also apply to the 18 [or 14] that have been allowed to continue operating to wrap up their affairs for the past six months -- is valid as now written or enforced...and the question wasn't discussed publicly in detail at the July 3 Council meeting.

As reported (first again) two days ago by, a three-judge panel of 2nd dist. CA Court of Appeal -- controlling authority in Los Angeles County -- has struck down L.A. County's blanket ban in unincorporated areas. Its reasoning: the blanket ban conflicts with state law allowing the use of medical marijuana.

City Attorney Shannon noted at the July 3 Council meeting that on a separate legal track, the 2nd dist. Court of Appeal [same court but with a different three judge panel] struck down LB's marijuana regulatory ordinance on grounds it conflicts with federal law and forbids the city from affirmatively regulating what the federal government prohibits.

So...does LB's current ban survive in its current form? Might it require tweaking in text or enforcement policies? City Attorney Bob Shannon will be first to make those calls. If there's disagreement over that, those matter(s) will head to court.

City Attorney Shannon noted at the Council meeting that the Pack opinion (striking down the LB's medpot regulatory framework) directly involves the City of Long Beach. Advocates for the marijuana dispensaries pointed out that the L.A. County case forbidding a blanket ban on medical marijuana outlets is controling authority [for now] in L.A. County.

The CA Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the Pack v. Long Beach (perhaps clarifying powers of cities to regulate medical marijuana) along with other marijuana cases in the coming months. Its ruling isn't currently expected until either year's end [an attorney for LB collectives predicts] or early 2013 [City Attorney Shannon predicts].

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