Lowenthal, Neal & Gabelich Agendize
|(June 29, 2012) -- Councilwoman Rae Gabelich, Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Councilman Steve Neal have agendized a July 3 City Council item that asks the City Attorney to draft an ordinance letting roughly 18 marijuana collectives that the Council allowed (by voted action Feb. 14, 2012) to keep operating (despite a citywide ban on all others) until the CA Supreme Court rules on Pack v. Long Beach [the case that struck down LB's marijuana regulatory ordinance] or unless those collectives are determined to be non-compliant; and requests City Manager to direct LBPD "to work with all appropriate local and state agencies to shut down and prosecute all non-exempt collectives."
[Note: The LB Collective Association, which represents 10 of the original 18 collectives exempted in February from the ban, has said in a recent release that 14 collectives are currently exempted from the current ban. We don't have the precise number, so we report below "roughly 18."]
The Councilmembers' agendizing memo states that included in the Feb. 14, 2012 Council discussion of the exemptions "were three explicit legislative intentions: (a) Not to have a total ban that would unduly harm and interfere with patient's rights to safe access, (b) offer an extension of the exemption for those qualified collectives that provide to be good neighbors in compliance with the spirit and the intent of the previous ordinance, and (c) wait until clarity was offered from the State Supreme Court concerning the Pack v. City of Long Beach case.
Passage of the item would require five affirmative Council votes -- and six if Mayor Bob Foster (who has publicly stated his opposition to extending the time for the roughly 18 outlets to continue operating) were to use his veto. There would then be two more majority Council votes required (by which time Gabelich would be replaced by Councilman-elect Al Austin) to actually enact the ordinance change. Mayor Foster could use his veto on any of those Council actions (which would require six Council votes to override).
The July 3 agenda item follows a June 19 Council report by LB's Police Chief, the City Attorney's office and Richard Doyle, Head Deputy District Attorney in the LB branch office on the status of LB's ordinance. Deputy DA Doyle indicated that LB's current policy -- which the three Councilmembers seek to continue by allowing the roughly 18 to continue operating while banning all others -- creates possible difficulties for prosecutors, letting some defendants assert unequal treatment as a possible defense.
To hear Deputy DA Doyle on the DA's prosecution / case filing policy (June 19, 2012), click here (includes colloquy with Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and City Attorney Bob Shannon).
The Council's Feb. 14, 2012 action gave roughly 18 outlets a six month exemption to the ban, allowing them to wrap up their operations since they had participated in good faith in the city's lottery (part of LB's now-invalidated marijuana ordinance). It also included additional Council and Mayoral colloquy.
For LBReport.com's detailed coverage -- with our (self-prepared, unofficial) transcript and audio -- of what the Council did and didn't say and do in February 2012, click here.
The CA Supreme Court will hear the LB case in the coming months, and isn't expected to issue a ruling until either late this year (says a lawyer for some collectives) or early next year (says City Attorney Bob Shannon).
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