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Pot ban lifted after impassioned plea from cancer patient Rosendahl

October 2, 2012 |  1:27 pm

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl at a Los Angeles City Council meeting in March.

In a faint and gravelly voice, Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl delivered an impassioned plea Tuesday asking his colleagues to lift the ban on pot dispensaries, asking them: “Where does anybody go, even a councilman go, to get his medical marijuana?”

Minutes before the council voted 11-2 to rescind its recently passed ban on storefront pot shops, Rosendahl said the council’s decision had created “a very emotional moment” for him. Rosendahl has been battling cancer for the past three months and relying on medical marijuana during that time.

“On the 20th of July, I had an MRI that was very, very serious. And the bottom line on that was, they didn’t give me much time to live. And I said, ‘No, no no no, I'm not ready to go. I certainly want to live a long time,’” said Rosendahl, who has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments and relying on a walker to move around in recent days.

Rosendahl, 67, said he began taking medical marijuana a decade ago to manage his neuropathy, a stinging pain in his feet, taking it “occasionally at night.” But on Tuesday, he put the issue in the context of his  battle with cancer, which has made it difficult for him to speak above a whisper.

 “If I can’t get marijuana, and it’s medically prescribed, what do I do?” he asked his colleagues.

Rosendahl criticized President Obama’s handling of the issue and spoke against some of the recent federal raids of dispensaries. And he said Los Angeles should work with state lawmakers to make California  law regulating medical marijuana clearer.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, in March, at a Los Angeles City Council meeting. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times