Medical Marijuana: Los Angeles Bans Prescription Pot Shops

After Los Angeles' prescription pot supporters and opponents took to City Hall to do verbal battle about the legal future of medical marijuana dispensaries, the L.A. City Council decided Tuesday night to ban prescription pot shops.

The unanimous vote requires that all 762 dispensaries close immediately, though the move might allow some shops to remain under certain circumstances, the L.A. Weekly and Los Angeles Times reports.

However, if dispensaries do not close, they might face legal penalties.

Medical marijuana backers were so angered by the vote that cops had to rush in to quell their jeers, the Times notes. Many have vowed to sue the City.

So what do L.A.'s palliative pot patients do now?

Well, the ordinance greenlighted last night lets patients and their caregivers "grow and share marijuana in groups of three people or fewer."

The problem?

A lot of patients don't have the time or skills to do that, and some estimates indicate that cultivating and maintaining a medical-grade plant can cost up to $5,000.

Confusingly, the L.A. City Council also said OK to a measure that requires the municipality's planners to figure out which pot shops should remain open, potentially granting immunity to shops established before 2007, the year in which a moratorium on new dispensaries was put in place.

This proposed ordinance might be weighed within the next few months.

Tuesday's developments comes as national law enforcement authorities continue to target California's legal medical weed industry. Though prescription pot is legal in California, it's illegal under federal statute.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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