D-Day in LA: City Council Poised to Vote on Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban

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The future of medical cannabis dispensaries in Los Angeles hangs in the balance today, with local officials set to debate – and likely vote on – a contentious proposal to ban marijuana centers in the city.

If the Los Angeles City Council shoots down the measure, it will likely be business as usual for the hundreds of dispensaries, grow operations and related businesses in the area.

If council members vote in favor of the proposal, however, the city’s medical cannabis infrastructure will crumble literally overnight. A ban would lead to thousands of layoffs and eliminate a major MMJ market, hurting the industry as a whole and exacerbating the dire situation in California, which has seen its medical marijuana industry shrivel considerably. Dispensaries in Los Angeles would likely be given a grace period of a few weeks or months to wrap everything up and prepare to close.

There’s a third option as well: Council members could approve a counter proposal that would allow 100 dispensaries to remain open.

There appears to be plenty of support on the council for an outright ban, and some community, residential, neighborhood and law enforcement groups have come out in support of such a move. So, realistically, the counter proposal might be the best hope for the industry.

No matter what the council decides, though, the outcome could only be temporary, as the state Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on whether cities have the right to regulate dispensaries. Additionally, the legality of an outright ban is unclear. Earlier this month, an appeals court overturned a ban in Los Angeles County, saying that such a move conflicts with the state’s MMJ laws.