Nothing is easy when it comes to regulating the use of cannabis for medical purposes. L.A. council members voting to ban dispensaries in the city thought they were helping wipe the slate clean, at least until the state Supreme Court can clarify what cities can and cannot do in overseeing sales of medical pot. The most obvious complication are the cities adjacent to L.A. that still allow dispensaries - places like West Hollywood and Santa Monica. Those cities must determine whether they will accept L.A.-based dispensaries looking for a place to do business. Another possibility is that medical marijuana activists will sue the city, perhaps delaying implementation of the ban for some time. "We're not going to make this easy for the city of Los Angeles," said Don Duncan, California director of Americans for Safe Access. Still another problem: Enforcing the ban. Officials don't really know how many dispensaries are in L.A. (estimates range from 500 to 1,000), and therefore can't ensure that everyone will abide by the law. Besides, the penalty for staying open is likely to be modest, which means that some operators might choose to stay in business as long as they can. It's not that the council erred by voting for the ban - given the circumstances, it was probably a wise decision. But without the state legislature stepping in and establishing rules and regulations - something that should have been done in the first place - no one city is in a position to force the issue. By the way, KPCC's Frank Stoltz did a nice job in laying out the issues.
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