Los Angeles City Council Set to Vote on Medical Cannabis Dispensary Ban, But Delay Likely

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The fate of medical marijuana businesses in Los Angeles hangs in the balance today, with local leaders set to take up a hugely controversial issue that will reshape – and possibly decimate – the city’s MMJ industry.

Or not.

Los Angeles City Council members are scheduled to address two MMJ proposals today: one that would ban all dispensaries in the city and another that would severely limit the medical cannabis industry but allow roughly 100 centers to remain open. Now, though, it seems there’s a good chance council members will delay a vote on the issue until next week at the earliest. Other reports say that some council members are trying to buy time to gain enough support for the proposal to keep some dispensaries open.

Postponing the vote will leave the industry in a holding pattern for at least a few more days, increasing uncertainty for MMJ businesses. The biggest fear, however, is that a delay will make it harder to organize medical cannabis advocates who oppose the bans. Industry supporters had planned to rally the troops today to protest the proposals and hopefully sway council members. Now, they’re left in a state of limbo, wondering whether they should still mobilize advocates or call it all off.

Regrouping next week could prove challenging, and any additional delays would further sap the MMJ’s community’s momentum.

Whatever happens in Los Angeles will reverberate across the entire U.S. medical marijuana industry. A ban would force hundreds of dispensaries and related businesses to close – shrinking the overall MMJ market – and end the city’s claim as the epicenter of medical marijuana.

However, the larger impact would be somewhat limited because the medical marijuana industry has diversified to other areas in recent years and L.A. has lost some of its MMJ influence. The lack of dispensary regulations in the city has also led to a sizable number of questionable cannabis businesses opening up shop. The more professional side of the industry would rather see those operations go away – hopefully to be replaced by more responsible dispensaries in the future once L.A. sorts out this mess.