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L.A. Council votes to ban medical marijuana shops, prompts industry backlash

  • la_marijuana_072412.jpg

    July 24, 2012: Pedestrians walk past a medical marijuana dispensary in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles.AP

  • losangeles_council_072412.jpg

    July 24, 2012: Juan Alcala, a proponent for medical marijuana, poses at a Los Angeles City Council meeting.AP

One of California's biggest medical marijuana hubs could be going up in smoke, at least for now, after the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban hundreds of pot shops in the area until the state's high court rules. 

MyFoxLA.com reports that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is ready to sign the ordinance after the council voted unanimously Tuesday to shut down the thriving medical marijuana ecosystem that has sprouted up in metropolitan Los Angeles. The ban would take effect in 30 days. 

Medical marijuana advocates at the meeting reportedly mounted a profanity-laced defense of their industry as they questioned where they'd be able to buy marijuana. 

"You don't care about people!" one person shouted, according to MyFoxLA.com. 

For now, the local government will send letters to as many as 900 shops in the area informing them of the ban. 

The decision comes amid a web of lawsuits that the city is waiting on to be resolved. 

Though Los Angeles two years ago passed an ordinance to close hundreds of shops, capping the total number at 70, the ordinance was challenged and has since expired. An appeals court in the state struck down that ordinance, yet a separate ruling said federal law doesn't allow the shops anyway. 

The city is now waiting for the California Supreme Court to hold a hearing on whether local governments can crack down on the dispensaries, according to MyFoxLA.com.

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