L.A. Taking Steps Toward Enforcing Marijuana Dispensary Law


Photo: Merchant Circle
Dave Warden displays his wares at a Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary

‚ÄčTwo Los Angeles City Council committees were poised Tuesday to take a major step towards enforcing a new ordinance that would shut down hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries around the city within months.

The City Council passed the ordinance in February, but it can’t take effect until registration fees for the pot shops have been established, reports KPCC Wire Services.
The Planning and Land Use Management Committee and Budget and Finance Committee are both expected to take a vote on the registration fees Tuesday.
A manager of an existing collective with no significant issues or construction will have to pay the city about $1,595 in registration fees, according to a report submitted to both committees by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana.
“My goal for the joint committee meeting is to move forward with the medical marijuana collective fees and final draft ordinance,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, chairman of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
“I continue to work closely with the affected city departments and review public testimony to ensure that the collective fees are fair, reasonable and prioritize the health and safety of our communities,” Reyes said.

The city councilman said he expects the dispensary ordinance to take effect in May.
There are hundreds of dispensaries currently operating in Los Angeles. The ordinance would cap the number of shops at 70, but at the same time grant a reprieve to the 187 dispensaries who had registered with the city prior to a moratorium.
If any of those 187 dispensaries close or go out of business, they will not be replaced until the overall number is reduced to 70.
Dispensaries will be required to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools, public parks, public libraries, religious institutions and other so-called “sensitive use” locations.
The pot shops are also prohibited from locating “on a lot abutting, across the street or alley from, or having a common corner with a residentially zoned lot or a lot improved with residential use.”
Americans for Safe Access (ASA), probably the nation’s largest medical marijuana advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit earlier this month challenging the dispensary ordinance.
ASA is trying to get a temporary restraining order to prevent the ordinance from taking effect, according to spokesman Kris Hermes.
Last week, a group of dispensary operators led by Daniel Halbert of The Rainforest Collective in Mar Vista failed to get enough signatures to force a ballot referendum on the ordinance.