La Cañada Flintridge City Council members voted unanimously Monday to declare medical marijuana dispensaries a public nuisance and permanently ban them from opening within city limits.

Though no one has ever filed for a permit to open a pot clinic in La Cañada, Community Development Director Robert Stanley described the move as a pre-emptive measure because an existing medical marijuana dispensary moratorium was set to expire in April.

Despite concerns over the often murky nature of state laws governing medical marijuana distribution and a plethora of past and pending legal action, council members said a ban was necessary to protect the safety and character of the city.

“I think this is a health and safety issue, particularly for our youth. If we made our decisions based on fear of litigation, we’d never make a decision,” said Councilman Greg Brown.

The ordinance declaring clinics a public nuisance reads that cities with pot clinics “have observed negative secondary effects to public health, safety and welfare, including increased crime such as burglaries, robberies, or sale of illegal drugs.”

Despite the ban on dispensaries, licensed hospices and health clinics will remain able to administer medical marijuana treatments to chronically ill patients in their care — exemptions Mayor Donald Voss said “get to the heart of why [permitted medical use] is state law in the first place.”