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Sari J. Steel

Principal Deputy County Counsel, Los Angeles County Counsel

Sari Steel is a Principal Deputy County Counsel for the Office of the Los Angeles County Counsel, and has been with the office since 1991. She is currently assigned to the County Counsel Code Enforcement Unit and has been working in that assignment since 2005 when the unit was created. The unit, comprised of three attorneys, advises County departments and the Board of Supervisors regarding problem properties and quality of life issues, drafts ordinances, and handles civil enforcement actions against code violators. Ms. Steel prepares protocols, written materials, and manuals for use by code enforcement personnel. Ms. Steel also provides training to code enforcement inspectors, law enforcement, and County staff, and lectures at conferences on code enforcement and related topics.

As part of her assignment, Ms. Steel handles the County's medical marijuana dispensary ("MMD") cases. In 2010, she represented the County in County of Los Angeles v. Martin Hill (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 861, a case in which the Second District Court of Appeal upheld the County of Los Angeles' ordinance regulating the manner and location in which MMDs may operate, finding that the ordinance does not conflict with the State's medical marijuana laws. Currently, she is representing the County in County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Collective of Covina, 207 Cal. App. 4th 601, review granted (September 19, 2012), S204663, pending before the California Supreme Court, where the defendants are challenging the County's ban on MMDs which took effect in January 2011.

Ms. Steel is a member of the California Association of Counties Medical Marijuana Work Group, formed in 2010 to serve as a venue for research and information sharing to help counties navigate the maze of local, State, and federal laws and regulations related to medical marijuana. The scope of the Work Group encompasses the legal, social, public safety, public health, and environmental impacts of medical marijuana issues. The goal of the Work Group is to provide information about county responsibilities in the regulation of medical marijuana and the location of medical marijuana dispensaries.

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