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L.A.'s ban on pot shops could be repealed today

October 2, 2012 |  9:39 am

The debate over medical marijuana in Los Angeles comes to a head Tuesday with the City Council set to decide whether to repeal a recently approved ban on storefront pot shops.

Faced with enough petitions from activists to send the matter to the ballot, council members must decide whether to rescind an ordinance cracking down on dispensaries or let the matter go to voters in March.

Tuesday's vote comes a week after federal agents raided dispensaries in Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights and other neighborhoods. Adding to the mix, Councilman Bill Rosendahl -- who is taking medical marijuana while battling cancer -- is expected to return to the council floor after a three-week absence to make his voice heard on the issue.

Rosendahl said he wants a "flat-out" repeal of the ordinance, which prohibits the sale of cannabis while allowing groups of three people or fewer to cultivate and share the drug.

Although Rosendahl has been pushing for a limited number of dispensaries to remain, he sympathized with the views of Councilman Jose Huizar, who has spoken out against the wide proliferation of pot outlets throughout his Eastside district.

Activists who rely on medical marijuana to cope with illness are expected to rally at City Hall before the council's meeting. After the vote, Councilman Mitch Englander is scheduled to hold his own news event explaining his strategy for handling dispensaries.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall