Angelenos Block Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries…For Now

An interview with Don Duncan on the future of medical marijuana


"We're letting the city council know that they can't just come in and trump the will of the people, and that when they do things that are very unpopular, the people can stand up and say stop," says Don Duncan, California director of Americans for Safe Access.  

The people did say stop this September in response to Los Angeles City Council's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. Fifty thousand Angelenos signed a petition, successfully blocking the ban that was supposed to go into effect on Sept. 6, 2012.

"After the city council adopted the ban, patients, collective operators and organized labor all got together and organized a referendum campaign," says Duncan, "we were able to actually block the implementation of the ban before it even took effect and so that's a tremendous victory for patients."

Duncan sat down with ReasonTV's Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss the battle for medical marijuana, which he says isn't over yet. Voters have to either overturn the ban via the ballot box this spring, or come up with their own ordinance through the voter initiative process.

Duncan notes that there is massive support for medical marijuana with 77 percent of Californians supporting the regulation and control of medical cannabis. Unfortunately this support may not be enough.

"The city attorney is committed to the fact that medical cannabis is illegal, and so we expect some sort of enforcement action from the city attorney that will probably involve civil measures, but that's almost certainly going to be coupled with some law enforcement activity," says Duncan, "unfortunately that means some people who are trying to do right, and are trying to take care of sick people and obey the law are going to get caught up in that dragnet.

About 7:40 minutes.

Edited by Tracy Oppenheimer. Shot by Zach Weissmueller and Mark Wagner.

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