30 March 2016
Here’s their report…
Marijuana dispensaries have been illegal in unincorporated areas since 2011. The board relies on zoning laws to enforce the ban and recently vowed to crack down on violators, voting earlier this month to assemble an enforcement team.
The ordinance amends the existing ban to make clear that renting or leasing a property for use as a medical marijuana dispensary is illegal.
County lawyers called the amendment a “non-substantive change.”
Landlords can already be held liable for illegal drug sales on their property under federal law. A 2013 case against several Southern California landlords renting to dispensaries — later dropped by the U.S. Attorney’s Office — originally called for them to forfeit their properties.
The board approved adoption of the amended ordinance without comment on a 4-0 vote, with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl abstaining.
“Medical marijuana dispensaries are legal. The county decided to ban them. I didn’t agree with that decision because people need to access these prescribed drugs in their neighborhoods if they can,” Kuehl told City News Service.
“Every city or piece of the county that bans them makes it less possible for people with glaucoma, with chronic pain, people living with AIDS who rely on these prescriptions to get them,” Kuehl said, adding that she also disagreed with criminalizing landlords who rent to dispensaries.
Press Release by Council Member Jose Huizar on the subject
The City Council adopted the Martinez-Huizar motion to add new processes and restrictions to curb ill effects on communities from illegal and non-compliant Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted for the motion, which helps stem the influx and negative impacts that non-Prop D compliant medical marijuana dispensaries (MMDs) are having in neighborhoods.
“We must continue to take action against the blight and nuisance activity that these non-compliant shops bring to my neighborhoods and the City at large,” said Nury Martinez, Councilwoman from the Sixth District. “The intent of the voters who passed Proposition D was to give access to medical marijuana to those who need it, not to inundate our neighborhoods with blight.”
Families and small businesses have raised concerns about neighborhood quality-of-life and safety issues that come from the illegal and non-compliant dispensaries located throughout the City. While the City Attorney and the Los Angeles Police Department have done good work shutting down many non-compliant dispensaries, that progress is stymied by other new non-compliant MMD’s opening up.
“We are issuing BTRCs to dispensaries that are operating illegally and using these tax certificates as a ruse to fool property owners and the public that they are legitimate businesses, when they clearly are not,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “We need to respect and honor Proposition D, the voters who approved it and the legitimate medical marijuana collectives that are adhering to its guidelines.”
In 2013, City of Los Angeles’ voters approved Proposition D, which set standards that would allow no more than 134 medical marijuana collectives already in existence to legally operate free of prosecution. The Martinez/Huizar motion was introduced in December 2014 and previously heard in the City’s Budget and Finance Committee, since the Office of Finance issues BTRCs to allow for taxes to be collected from City of Los Angeles businesses.
Wednesday’s vote calls for a recommendation that the Office of Finance cease giving out BTRCs for medical marijuana operations, since the eligible collectives are already on the books and no new operation would meet Proposition D’s standards.
Other recommendations include requiring the City Attorney to report on an ordinance that would make it illegal to display an expired BTRC for the purpose of misleading the public; and, consistent with City of Los Angeles Proposition M (Taxation of Medical Marijuana Collectives), an ordinance prohibiting an MMD from displaying a BTRC of a different category.
The motion was adopted on a 13-0 vote.