LA City Council Votes to Ban Marijuana Shops
Dispensaries will be ordered to shut down immediately
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 24, 2012 11:34 PM CDT
Updated Jul 25, 2012 6:35 AM CDT
A medical marijuana dispensary in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Adam Lau)

(Newser) – Los Angeles pot shops are about to go up in a puff of smoke. The LA City Council has voted unanimously to ban all marijuana dispensaries. The ban will go into effect 30 days after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signs the law, which he intends to do. As many as 900 medical marijuana dispensaries will be sent a letter ordering them to shut down, reports AP. Medical marijuana patients and their pot suppliers will be able to grow and share pot in groups of three people or fewer—a compromise that will be far too costly for patients, say pot advocates. The council may fashion a future law that would allow some 170 of the oldest dispensaries to operate, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The vote drew furious jeers from medical marijuana advocates packing the council's chambers. It's an extraordinary development in a state known for its marijuana tolerance, where voters approved medical marijuana in 1996, and a victory for the Justice Department's crackdown on the dispensaries. Public condemnation of the dispensaries has grown as the shops have proliferated. Past Los Angeles attempts to crack down on the shops have triggered legal action, but a recent appellate court decision will likely protect the city this time around. "A judge could file an injunction but we think that is unlikely," said a city attorney.