Garcetti on Upcoming Marijuana Vote
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Posted 07 December 2009 - 11:58 PM
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(CityWatch Note: The latest incarnation of the Medical Marijuana Ordinance is set to come before the City Council on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.)
I sat down with City Council President Eric Garcetti on Thursday, in his district office on Hollywood and Western. The edited interview will be up next week, but I thought I'd post our discussion of Medical M arijuana now, as we get pretty far into the weeds, no pun intended. Medical Marijuana is coming up for a vote next week.
Yeah, we were gonna look at it this week, but we got a report back on Tuesday, and I wanted people to have more than 12 hours to digest it. I hope that we will give direction on Tuesday, so we can vote on a final ordinance Wednesday, and have something by the recess.
Any idea where the city council's gonna go with it?
Yeah, 95 percent of the stuff has been worked out in discussions. The issues that remain now -- everybody supports some cap on dispensaries, so we need to decide what the number should be.
The number per area or the total number?
Both. The total number, and how you distribute them. You could do it by planning area, or police division -- I support doing it by police division just because it's fairer, by population. And then there's the issue, which I don't think we'll resolve, but it's still up in the air -- should cash change hands. Our city attorney says that state law prohibits any cash from changing hands. Some councilmembers agree. Other councilmembers say, how can you reimburse a collective without cash? So what we did, we made it so that you can reimburse with cash, provided it's consistent with state law. That allows the courts to decide what is state law, ‘cause this is being challenged as we speak. I don't know how people get access to medicine without some sort of reimbursement.
I don't know how somebody with full-blown AIDS has time to cultivate their own medical marijuana. So I think this is something state law has to fix.
What would the number of total dispensaries be?
I've heard as low as 40 and as high as 400. I personally think somewhere between 70 and 100 is probably a good number.
Does the number of Starbucks play into it at all?
No, but it makes for a good story. There are plenty more doctors' offices than Starbucks, for instance, but no one says that. We don't have a lot of complaints about the dispensaries themselves, we've had pretty well run operations. What we do have complaints about is when three or four open on a single block. Which to me isn't just about medical marijuana. You wouldn't want four 99 cents stores on the same block. We regulate bars, you can't open up five bars on the same block.
What about doctor's prescriptions, does that need to be more regulated?
Absolutely. It's not our jurisdiction -- the state, which licenses doctors, really needs to investigate, and crack down on doctors that are giving prescriptions for illnesses that are made up. It's not just an aspirin type of prescription, I don't think that's what the voters intended. Check for Hillel Aron’s complete interview with City Council President Eric Garcetti at Neon Tommy - Breaking News, Entertainment, Culture, Arts, L.A. - neontommy.com.