LBPD & DA's Office Rep Tell Council LB's Current Medpot Policy, Banning Some But Not All Outlets, Creates Prosecution Problems (Hear It)
|(June 20, 2012, 12:50 a.m.) -- A report to Councilmembers on LB's current medical marijuana policy by LB's Police Chief, the City Attorney's office and the head deputy District Attorney in the LB branch office, produced intense colloquy and exchanges, including a
LBReport.com (which carried the entire Council meeting LIVE on our front page) provides quick-access sound clips of the following salient sound clips (whoosh indicates audio edit):
The item, which had been scheduled for a considerable period of time, was agendized was "to receive and file a report reviewing the status of Ordinance No. ORD-12-0004 (Chapter 5.89) of the Long Beach Municipal Code (LBMC), as enacted by the City Council on February 14, 2012, the operations and activities of the medical marijuana collectives that were provided a six-month exemption, and enforcement against non-exempted marijuana collectives and cultivations sites within the City of Long Beach."
LB's current medical marijuana policy was enacted by the City Council in February 2012 after a CA Court of Appeal panel in Pack v. City of Long Beach) struck down LB's medpot ordinance in late 2011. With no means in place to control the proliferation or operation of outlets, the Council voted in February 2012 to ban medical marijuana collectives in LB BUT allowed a six month exemption from the ban for 18 outlets that had participated in a City-conducted lottery process. The 18 outlets had incurred start up costs and the like but found their investments undercut by the CA Court of Appeal's ruling that struck down LB's ordinance. The CA Supreme Court will hear the LB case, and others dealing with medical marijuana issues, later this year.
During Council discussion, Mayor Foster repeatedly said, and the City Attorney agreed, that the Council's Feb. 2012 vote was intended to let 18 collectives that had participated in good faith in the city lottery process to wind up their operations.
The LB Collective Ass'n (whose members consist of 10 of the 18 outlets) urged the Council to let the current exemption to the ban remain in effect until the CA Supreme Court rules on LB's ordinance, expected later this year...after the current exemption from the ban (for the 18 currently exempted collectives) is due to expire in August).
Vice Mayor Lowenthal asked and the City Attorney confirmed that a Council majority could approve an item at a future Council meeting (between now and August 12) extending the exemption to the City's ban, if properly enacted as an ordinance [passage by a Council majority usually requiring in two readings].
Mayor Foster reiterated that he would oppose extending the current exemptions to the ban. [Unstated: the Mayor has a veto, which if used would require six Council votes to override.]
Mayor Foster said he believes the Council tried to do the right thing in attempting to regulate medical marijuana but was undercut by the legal action that resulted in the Court of Appeal ruling that struck down LB's ordinance.
Councilmembers Andrews and Garcia were absent from the June 19 Council meeting. Councilman Garcia was a vocal supporter of now-Court-invalidated ordinance who also supported efforts to exempt 18 lottery-participant dispensaries from the ban until August...but absented himself from the June 19 by not using the state-law authorized teleconference procedure while in Florida on a visit related to his position in LBCC's administration.
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