New Pot Dispensary Law Could Have ‘Disastrous’ Impact On L.A.


Photo: Robyn Beck

​​The City of Los Angeles is expected to begin enforcing Monday an ordinance that could shut down more than 400 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. Approved by the City Council, the ordinance gives collectives that opened prior to November 13, 2007 (about 130 of which remain) six months to comply with new regulations.

Many of the 130 pre-moratorium dispensaries will be forced into new locations by strict zoning restrictions in the ordinance.

Photo: MPP
Aaron Smith, MPP: “This new ordinance is all but guaranteed to have a disastrous effect on Los Angeles”

​”This new ordinance is all but guaranteed to have a disastrous impact on Los Angeles,” said Aaron Smith, California policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
“By imposing zoning laws on medical marijuana collectives that are stricter than those for gun dealers, adult entertainment businesses, alcohol vendors, or pharmacies, the city is placing undue burden on tens of thousands of medical marijuana patients whose quality of life may depend on safe and reliable access to their medicine,” Smith said.
“There is no rational reason to impose stricter regulations on medical marijuana collectives than on liquor stores, which sell a substance that everyone knows is more harmful than marijuana and doesn’t require a doctor’s permission to purchase,” Smith said. “With so many collectives being forced to close shop, many patients whose neighborhood dispensaries close will no doubt turn to the criminal market to obtain their medicine.”
“That means sales taxes won’t be paid on those transactions, it will be impossible to monitor the quality or origin of that marijuana, and the typical turf wars and crime associated with black markets will become more prevalent in surrounding communities,” Smith said.
“Even in terms of simple economics, closing these businesses makes entirely no sense,” Smith said. “Why, in the midst of a recession, in a city already plagued by economic stagnation, would anyone think it’s a good idea to shutter more than 400 legitimate businesses that employ hundreds of residents and contribute millions in tax revenue?”
“More empty storefronts are not the solution to L.A.’s financial woes,” Smith said.