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Council Bans Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Removes Campaign Finance Limits

The panel also reappoints a commissioner and approves a cost-of-living increase for the city clerk.

The Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday unanimously banned medical marijuana dispensaries, loosened campaign finance limits and approved more than $780,000 for city projects.

In its final item of the public hearing portion of the meeting, the council enacted a permanent ordinance that prohibits "the establishment of marijuana dispensaries, cultivation operations, stores or co-ops within the city," said Susan Healy Keene, director of community development.

The council approved a last July. No medical marijuana facilities currently exist in Beverly Hills, Keene said.

The Planning Commission recommended adoption of this permanent ordinance on Jan. 27 due to recent Los Angeles city and county actions banning new dispensaries, which "were identified as actions that may result in pressure to establish [dispensaries] here in Beverly Hills," Keene told council members.

"The commission also cited concerns about recent criminal activity involving dispensaries, inconsistency with [Beverly Hills'] General Plan and the potential disruption to the community character as reasons supporting an outright prohibition of marijuana dispensaries in the city," Keene said.

No one responded to Mayor Jimmy Delshad's call for public comments on the issue before the vote.

In other action, after the council voted 3-2 to move forward with plans to , it voted 3-2 again to remove the monetary limit that private political action committees can donate to election campaigns.

"Recent federal court decisions have struck down campaign contribution limits for independent expenditure committees that support or oppose candidates," Mayor Jimmy Delshad said. "Although I don’t agree with the ruling, I voted 'yes' on the change to the municipal code because my first duty is to protect the city of Beverly Hills and to follow the law."

Council members Nancy Krasne and John A. Mirisch voted against the item to reflect earlier positions they had taken on the matter.

"It can give the appearance of corruption if independent groups contribute to local candidates," Mirisch said after the meeting.

Also during the meeting, Planning Commissioner Craig Corman was reappointed to another four-year term and City Clerk Brian Pope was allotted a 1 percent cost of living increase to his base salary, which was $134,825 in 2009 and 2010, city spokeswoman Therese Kosterman said.

The council then entered into an agreement with the federal South Coast Air Quality Management District to acquire "10 heavy-duty vehicles, fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG), and to install a CNG fueling station at the City Yard," according to the meeting's agenda. "The city will be reimbursed ... $550,000 by the Clean Transportation Grant Fund."

To meet standards set by the federal American with Disabilities Act, an appropriation of $65,507 for 22 handicapped-accessible curb ramps and the upgrading of 38 existing curb ramps was unanimously OK'd. The ramps will be placed at locations on Gregory Way and Charleville Boulevard, and are covered by a Community Development Block Grant.

The council also appropriated $135,000 to be reimbursed by proceeds from a children's craft and music program and summer camp. The city funds are "offset by revenue generated from class fees," states the agenda.

Finally, sworn officers of the Beverly Hills Police Department will now be equipped with ballistic bulletproof vests for $31,980. "Grant funds will be used to assist with the purchase," according to the agenda.

Hughie February 18, 2011 at 06:38 AM
No pot clubs huh? Simple google search says otherwise... http://www.meetup.com/Beverly-Hills-Cannabis-Club/
j.quinley February 18, 2011 at 07:38 AM
Shut them all down, get back to the streets, and grind.
Kaye Clarke February 19, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Backwards thinking, Beverly Hills! Medical Marijuana has been scientifically validated over and over again, and can be an invaluable medicine for many. To not permit at least one dispensary in the city to serve its population is unwise and unfair, and caters to outmoded ways of thinking. With re: removing campaign finance limits: We see how well that is working for our nation, where the voice of regular people is being irrevocably drowned out by corporate money. Citizens United does Beverly Hills. What happened to the progressive city I remember? (Oh wait, this is the city that turned down the Hirschorn Collection, and vetoed a cut and cover subway). Nonetheless, this is not the town I grew up in - sad and scary.

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