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L.A. council votes to repeal ban on medical marijuana dispensaries

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted 11-2 to repeal its recent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, averting a March election on the explosive issue of storefront pot sales.

The action leaves Los Angeles, once again, without any law regulating the estimated 1,000 pot shops operating within its boundaries. But that does not necessarily mean dispensaries will be allowed to stay open.

Council members say they are hoping that a new federal crackdown on L.A. dispensaries may accomplish what they hoped to achieve with their ban. “That is our relief,” Councilman Jose Huizar said of the federal action, which began last week with raids on several dispensaries. Dozens of other pot shops were sent letters, ordering them to close.

The city may also seek to shut down dispensaries on its own by prosecuting operators for violating city land use laws.

After the City Council voted for the ban in July, activists collected tens of thousands of signatures to send a referendum repealing it to the ballot. Council members on Tuesday had to decide whether to rescind the ordinance or put the matter on the March ballot, when voters will  be choosing a new mayor, city controller, city attorney and eight council members.

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-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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