Medical Marijuana Becomes Hot Topic During Town Hall Introducing Neighborhood Prosecutor
Mike Feuer introduces new Harbor Area neighborhood prosecutor Lauren Halligan at a town hall meeting on Tuesday. (photo: Twitter @cityattorneyla)
San Pedro’s new neighborhood prosecutor Lauren Halligan and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer got more than an earful during her introduction Tuesday evening as residents wasted no time informing Halligan of their civic concerns.
More than 50 residents packed the boardroom at the Port of Los Angeles Administrative building, sharing their worries – and complaints – about offenses around the city as Feuer fielded questions from the audience. Some residents attended the town hall to lobby for enforcement of existing ordinances to curtail minor nuisances rather than crimes, such as restricting gasoline-powered leaf blowers and skateboarding on steep hills.
Feuer later polled the audience about medical marijuana dispensaries with nearly half of all attendees indicated they were concerned about in their neighborhoods. Feuer went on to explain Proposition D, the medical marijuana law passed last year which limits medical marijuana dispensaries. Feuer’s office has assigned a special prosecutor who is responsible for overseeing the prosecution of illegal dispensaries.
— LA City Attorney (@cityattorneyla) June 25, 2014
Feuer said he is aware of more than 40 illegal dispensaries. Several have already been prosecuted and his office is currently reviewing more, he added. According to Feuer, some dispensaries can receive immunity from city prosecution if they meet specific criteria, but it does not circumvent prosecution from federal authorities.
The Neighborhood Prosecutor Program focuses on crimes that adversely impact quality of life in Los Angeles communities, such as drugs, prostitution, illegal dumping, and graffiti. Neighborhood prosecutors are assigned to various communities throughout greater Los Angeles.
Halligan is no stranger to San Pedro, as she started her tenure as a career prosecutor in San Pedro, prosecuting her first case against a DUI offender. Halligan has more than 15 years of experience as an attorney. Part of the reason she opted to transition into a neighborhood prosecutor was to connect with people on the ground level, she explained. In addition to San Pedro, Halligan’s territory includes Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, Terminal Island, and Wilmington.
Feuer explained that the Neighborhood Prosecutor Program was his attempt to fulfill a campaign promise to make neighborhoods safer and prevent crime. Feuer began his first term without a budget allocated for a neighborhood prosecutor, but compelled the city council to create a budget. Feuer is also hoping to recruit local volunteers to support the neighborhood justice program.
Halligan and Feuer were joined by more than a dozen staff members, including prosecutors from the city attorney’s office. Also in attendance were several police officers from the Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division.