GRANADA HILLS, CA — On a quiet cul-de-sac in this sleepy Los Angeles suburb, neighbors have voted to legalize marijuana for their own personal use .
“This is true democracy in action,” said Ned Sarmond, who organized the election and encouraged his fellow residents to cast a “Yes” vote. “We’re law-abiding citizens here, who were tired of feeling like criminals every time we lighted up.”
The unanimous vote, conducted last Saturday in Sarmond’s garage on Blackbird Parkway, allows residents to consume marijuana for recreational use inside their own homes, in their backyards and anywhere on the street.
Sarmond, a Deputy Chief with the Los Angeles Police Department, doesn’t expect any problems with law enforcement officers. “I approve their overtime,” he laughed, as he lit up a joint and inhaled. “That gives us a kind of immunity.”
Legal analysts disagree as to whether the extremely local ordinance, referred to as “The Blackbird Law,” would hold up in court. But Max Arbigale, a defense attorney who lives on the street, believes the vote is a legitimate amendment to the California penal code, and has offered his legal services free-of-charge to any of his neighbors who get arrested while smoking pot on their own property.
“It was a fair vote, conducted by the people, for the people and of the people — people determined to control their own destinies,” explained Arbigale. “What District Attorney in his right mind would oppose that?”
Especially when one of those “determined people” happens to be Anna Munoz, an assistant D.A. for the City of Los Angeles, who evidently joined her neighbors in support of the marijuana rule. Munoz was unavailable for comment, deferring to her attorney, Max Arbigale.
As a result of the Blackbird Law, other suburban neighborhoods throughout the United States are considering conducting similar votes. The movement may soon overtake Washington. Congressman Sal Dennison (D-OH), for example, recently introduced language into a highway bill making it legal for himself to smoke weed.
It’s a “good sign,” according to Arbigale, who took a long drag from a custom-made water pipe he picked up while visiting India last year. “If the representatives we vote for aren’t going to vote for the things we want them voting for, ” he said in a slow, deliberate voice, often slurring his words for emphasis, “then we’re going to vote for those things ourselves.”