I’m not calling for drug testing of elected officials but watching the City Council sometimes I think they must be high on something.
There they were Tuesday going around and around for the umpteenth time about “medicinal marijuana,” listening yet again to repetitious pleas for LA to become a sanctuary city for potheads and fretting over how many, how far, how long and the minutiae of an ordinance they still don’t understand.
There was the sober Senior Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher maternally answering the same questions about there is buffer between pot shops and residences, 500 feet from hospitals and schools and how there’s a cap of 70 with loopholes for 116 more.
No, the law doesn’t allow sales for cash. It’s the compassionate use act for really sick people who can work together in a cooperative to grow pot and share it with each other. Nothing more, not the back door legalization and proliferation of 600 to 1,000 dispensaries the Council allowed to flourish.
Ed Reyes was rebuffed when he tried to end the latest round of posturing because Bill Rosendahl needed to puff up his chest and get something off it.
Cowards, he called his colleagues and everyone else who doesn’t criminalizing marijuana had destroyed America. Crazy, he called them. He was a man in need of a sedative, Herb Wesson suggested since he violated the rules of decorum and mutual respect.
Paul Koretz was as confused as ever about the rules he was voting on and what they meant. Jose Huizar was absolutely against increasing the number of pot shops and then amended the Rule of 70 to allow up to 186.
Richard Alarcon was truly amazing for a man under criminal investigation for lying about living in the district he represents when he doesn’t and then telling a ridiculous story about how a homeless nut broke into his abandoned house he claimed as residence, trashed it even as he was buying and installing new locks on the doors.
Surely DA Steve Cooley will need the help of Sherlock Holmes to solve “The Case of the Locksmith Squatter.”
Alarcon seemed to want to close all the existing pot shops and let hundreds, maybe thousands, of hospices and elder care facilities to grow their own marijuana, presumably to keep the old and sick folks stoned instead of sedated.
If all that was bizarre and symptomatic enough of what’s wrong at City Hall, Tony Cardenas stole the show with this one: He wants a “public option” like in national health care with the city getting into the business of growing and selling pot so it can reap the windfall profits and stave off bankruptcy.
Not to worry, the new pot law was a done deal even though they scorned Jane Usher and her boss, Carmen Trutanich, for showing them how to get out of the mess they created just as they did with the billboard fiasco.
The ordinance was approved 11-3 with Pro-Pot Rosendahl dissenting along with Bernard Parks and Jan Perry because they thought they might get too many of the 70 or 186 and destroy the street trade.
Finally, the LA City Council took steps Tuesday to bring an end to the proliferation of pot shops and get sale and distribution of medicinal marijuana under control.
The ordinance will come back for a final vote next Tuesday but implementation could still be many months away and most clinics facing closure likely will remain in business throughout this year.
The Council action comes 14 years after 55 percent of California voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, seven years after the Legislature enacted the Medical Marijuana Act and three years after the Council adopted an interim ordinance.
In theory, the ordinance caps the number of dispensaries at 70, an average of two for each of the 35 community planning areas (see chart below) or one for about 60,000 residents. But the size of the planning areas varies dramatically so some would not have any and others as many as five or six.
But the Council built in a number of variables to the cap, allowing all 137 to potentially stay open and allowing others that closed to possibly reopen under some conditions, bringing the number to 186.
A number of late amendments, proposed Tuesday after months of debate and endless hearings, were referred to committee for consideration.
For a list of how many pot shops are allowed in each of the 35 community planning areas, go to OurLA.org