See updated details of last night's council meeting at the end of this post.
On Feb. 14, Long Beach city officials voted to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city with the exception of those that had won a lottery, paid hefty fees, and managed to survive subsequent revisions of the city's pot ordinance, which itself has been ruled illegal under state law. The exemption only lasted for half a year, which is why medical marijuana is back on the agenda for tonight's city council meeting. If you like your marijuana safe, affordable and legal rather than purchased off the street at a jacked-up price from some dude with a pager–yay, 1990s!–expect nothing good to come of this.
Although the city is reportedly considering allowing the exempted clubs to continue operating, Greggory Moore, a reporter with Long Beach Post, has an interesting article predicting that the council will actually order those clubs, which have organized themselves into a lobbying group, Long Beach Collective Association, or LBCA, to shut down too.
Specifically, Moore quotes Erik Sund, the city's business relations manager, who was in charge of Long Beach's controversial pot club program, as telling attendees of a community meeting last week that the six-month exemption was simply a favor to LBCA, allowing them time to phase out their operations before being banned. “Yes that was the purpose,” Sund explained, “to allow them to phase out . . . to recoup some of their investment, and to give patients time to find new sources for medicine.”
Stay tuned to see what happens at council chambers tonight, and whether LBCA and other advocates of medical marijuana will show up in enough force to have any impact on the proceedings.
Updated, June 20, 10 a.m.: With two council members absent from last night's meeting, no vote took place on whether to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. However, police chief Jim McDonnell strongly urged the city to enact such a ban, arguing that the roughly 20 dispensaries that have been allowed to remain open are making it difficult to prosecute cannabis clubs that are operating in violation of the city's legally-contested 2010 pot ordinance. “It's imperative that law enforcement treat all people equally,” McDonnell told the council, according to a Long Beach Press Telegram article today.
McDonnell also claimed that his department had responded to more than 1000 service calls relating to the city's pot clubs to deal with crimes ranging from “murder to theft,” according to the PT. The cops have also regularly raided clubs that aren't among the 20 exempted dispensaries, including one called the THC Downtown Collective that had opened two months ago and which was raided yesterday just a few hours before the meeting.