Los Angeles Business Journal

Opponents of Pot Shop Ban To Submit Referendum Signatures

By Howard Fine Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Local medical marijuana proponents are expected to announce Wednesday that they have gathered enough signatures for a referendum that would overturn the L.A. City Council’s ban on medical marijuana stores.

A coalition of medical marijuana patients, dispensary owners and workers is expected to announce they have filed 50,000 signatures from Los Angeles voters with the city clerk’s office, nearly twice the number required to qualify a referendum.

If the city clerk validates enough signatures, the referendum will appear on the March 2013 city primary election ballot.

“We understand the need for strict rules regarding dispensaries,” said Gary Carver, who suffers from glaucoma. “But the outright ban went too far and will result in many sick and infirm patients suffering needlessly.”

It’s estimated that Los Angeles is home to about 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries. Citing reports of crime around some of the dispensaries and fierce neighborhood opposition, city officials have tried for years to rein in the number.

The Los Angeles City Council on July 24 passed an ordinance banning all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. The council also sought ways of allowing some dispensaries to stay open.