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Ted Chen, Kristopher Li
An election for seats on the local neighborhood council in Eagle Rock is now the epicenter for a fight to keep marijuana dispensaries in the area. The October election is expected to bring in thousands of voters. Ted Chen reports from Eagle Rock for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2012.
Marijuana is such a hot topic in Eagle Rock, there's now a heated battle over something people used to largely ignore: the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council.
"We have 30,000 residents in Eagle Rock, and every person has a voice, and every voice should be heard," said Nelson Grande, Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council candidate.
Grande is part of a group of candidates aligned with activists who oppose LA's ban on medical marijuana storefronts. That ban is now on hold after activists collected more than 27,000 signatures needed to put the issue before voters.
The ban was fueled in large part by complaints in Eagle Rock that people who frequent dispensaries were impacting the quality of life in the area.
"These businesses are illegal businesses," said Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council President Michael Larsen. "There's no license to run a medical marijuana dispensary."
But Grande says the ban against dispensaries was an overreaction.
"I think the ban went too far," Grande said. "I think there are truly a lot of sick people."
Activists are encouraging those who frequent Eagle Rock dispensaries to vote in the election, but Larsen says the people who live there should be the one who should choose their leaders.
"The problem we have is when they're encouraging people from other communities to come into Eagle Rock and vote in our neighborhood council election," Larsen said, "they're encouraging them to come from Burbank, from Glendale, from Pasadena, all places that have a ban on dispensaries."