Today’s News: Decision opens new chapter in pot wars

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Pot shots. Now that the state Supreme Court has upheld the right of cities and counties to ban pot shop shops – what’s next for medical marijuana in California? And what about the three medical pot initiatives that will be on the Los Angeles city ballot two weeks from now?

The court’s unanimous decision means that a 1996 California ballot measure approving medical marijuana notwithstanding, municipalities can use zoning and land use laws to keep marijuana dispensaries out. That upholds bans in more than 200 cities in the state.

“It doesn’t mean all the pot shops are going away but it does mean that the localities that want them to go away can now outlaw them,” Loyola Law School Professor Jessica Levinson told KCRW. She says backers of medical pot are expected to turn the state Legislature for clearer regulatory guidelines, or go back to the state initiative process. “I don’t think people are just going to sit back and say ‘Well, the California Legislature has spoken so that’s that,’” she said.

In Los Angeles, medical marijuana dispensaries are legal, though the city has struggled mightily to regulate them. The three competing initiatives on the L.A. city ballot two weeks from today seek to try to add some clarity to the situation. That includes setting rules for where the shops can operate, and how many can do business in the city. Which Way, L.A.?