Not sure how we missed this, but kudos to The Orange County Register for reporting that the California Coastal Commission voted--against the recommendation of its own staff--to deny Laguna Beach's effort to seek its approval for a ban on marijuana dispensaries. The Jan. 19 story by Claudia Koerner noted that because the city of Laguna Beach had already voted to ban dispensaries and because the ban didn't affect coastal access, commission staff had recommended a yes vote.
But as it turned out, six members of the commission happened to remember that medical marijuana is legal under state law, and they viewed the city's ban as an attack on patients' rights.
"For communities to not step up and take some responsibility for how their folks can have access and to push it off onto other communities brings to us a consistency issue that is legitimate for us to look at, even though it's not a directly a coastal-access issue," commissioner Mark Stone told the Reg.
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Another commissioner who voted against the ban, Ross Mirkarimi, explained his vote by saying that Laguna Beach was just "kicking the can up to the coastal commission to solve a policy problem" of its own. City Manager John Pietig told the Reg the vote didn't matter and he'd figure out another way to justify the city's policy on medical marijuana. The city's original vote to ban cannabis collectives was back in September 2009. Another nearby coastal city, Dana Point, has also been engaged in an ongoing war with dispensaries.