Weeding Out L.A.’s Dispensaries: How Will It Go Down?


Photo: Daniel Beaman Photography
Kush House dispensary in Venice Beach. Hundreds of pot shops, including all 14 in Venice, will be forced to shut down under L.A.’s new dispensary law.

​With the Los Angeles City Council expected this week to give final approval to a new law which would result in hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries being forced to close, some are wondering exactly how the city will enforce the crackdown.

Last week, L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who thinks the city is overreacting to the dispensaries, quizzed city officials on how they plan to shut down the pot shops that aren’t among the fortunate 140 allowed under the new law, reports Frank Stoltze of KPCC.

Photo: Damon D’Amato
L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl: “So we don’t have some draconian knock on the door and come-and-smash-apart type of activity”

​”So when you do that, you’ll notify them so we don’t have some draconian knock on the door and come-and-smash-apart type of activity,” said Rosendahl.
Jane Usher of the city attorney’s office assured the city councilman that the city would seek voluntary compliance.
“That’s how we’ll proceed unless you’d prefer the smashing and knocking and the draconian,” Usher said. (It seems everybody wants to be a comedian in L.A.)
But medical marijuana advocates are still worried.
Dispensaries can’t open across the street or alley from homes or apartments. Every one of the 14 pot shops in Venice, for example, would be forced to close.
The ordinance, which also bans dispensaries from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, and parks, may be widely ignored, according to Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access (ASA).
“Obviously, we don’t expect widespread compliance,” Duncan said, “and it remains to be seen what the city’s going to do to enforce this ordinance.”
Duncan said he heard anti-pot City Attorney Carmen Trutanich’s office say they’d require voluntary compliance. “I suspect there’s something beyond that,” Duncan said.
Headline-hogging L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley has threatened to close the dispensaries himself. According to weed-hater Cooley, most of them are “little more than glorified drug dealers,” anyway.
The ordinance imposes numerous regulations on dispensaries.
The pot shops would only be allowed to open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., and would be required to employ security guards. The shops would be subject to police inspection at any time.
Dispensaries would be required to operate as non-profits, and submit to independent audits.
And, officially, the dispensaries aren’t supposed to sell any marijuana.
The loophole is that the shops could “accept cash and in-kind contributions” for the growth and delivery of cannabis.
Listen to the audio story from KPCC’s Frank Stoltze here.