|Graphic: L.A. Weekly|
It’s the beginning of the end for hundreds of Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries.
Most of the pot shops are about to be wiped out by L.A.’s new dispensary ordinance, which severely limits where they can be located, reports Dennis Romero at L.A. Weekly.
Councilman Ed Reyes is predicting that “noncompliant” shops — which means all of them, other than the 187 that were in business before the city imposed a moratorium — will start being shut down in May.
About 545 dispensaries are operating in Los Angeles, according to a comprehensive county by the L.A. Weekly (PDF). The City Council voted to winnow those down to 187 by declaring all the shops that opened after the moratorium — exploiting a boilerplate “hardship” exemption included in its language — noncompliant.
The number will eventually, through attrition, be reduced to 70 shops. Until that time, when any of the 187 permitted dispensaries go out of business, they won’t be replaced.
Under the ordinance, each permitted dispensary will be required to pay nearly $1,600 in fees. The funds will be used for background checks for dispensary managers.
While two City Council committees — Planning and Land Use Management, and Finance — have approved $1,595 in registration fees for each shop, the entire council, which has been studying the dispensary issue for more than two years, still hasn’t approved the fees.
Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has challenged the dispensary ordinance in court. ASA says it might also seek a temporary restraining order to prevent any shops being closed down under the ordinance.