L.A. County Moves To Ban Pot Dispensaries In Unincorporated Areas


Photo: Hidden Treats
Spineless Los Angeles County Supervisors are about to cut off safe access for 1.5 million people.

​A million and a half people are about to lose safe access to marijuana.

Worried that Los Angeles’s new crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries is pushing the pot shops out into other communities, pot-phobic Los Angeles County supervisors took steps Tuesday to ban dispensaries from unincorporated areas countywide.

“It leaves the unincorporated portion vulnerable,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, author of the motion. The board, according to Antonovich, should protect residents’ “safety and property values.”

The ban would cover areas with a population of 1.5 million people, reports Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times. The motion was approved unanimously by the board.
L.A. County has for four years theoretically allowed the dispensaries, but with strict rules on their locations. The pot shops cannot be within 1,000 feet of churches, daycare centers, libraries, playgrounds, schools, and other so-called “sensitive uses.”
Despite the policy, the county has never approved a single dispensary in an unincorporated area in four years. One applicant was rejected outright, another withdrew the request and three others were “being considered.”
County staff have been directed to prepare an ordinance to implement the ban, which first needs to be considered by the Regional Planning Commission and then by the Board of Supervisors again. The process could take at least three or four months.
“This action will ensure that neighborhoods in unincorporated areas are spared from becoming the locations of choice for dispensaries,” said Tony Bell, a spokesman for Antonovich.

Photo: Los Angeles Times
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: “I hope we don’t make it harder for those people facing terminal illnesses from getting the type of assistance they need.” So, Zev, why’d you vote for the ban?

​While approving the motion, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky expressed objections to rewriting a law he said already worked.
“It’s the illegal ones that are driving everybody crazy,” Yaroslavsky said. “This ban will not do any more or any less than our existing ordinance.”
“The issue is whether our regulations are sufficient to regulate those who want to play by the rules, and I think the answer is yes,” Yaroslavsky said.
Yaroslavsky said he has had seriously ill friends whose pain has been eased by medical marijuana.
“I hope we don’t make it harder for those people facing terminal illnesses from getting the type of assistance they need to address their quality-of-life issues in their closing days,” he said at the meeting.
The ban, if instituted, could face legal challenges, reports Nathan McEntire at the Whittier Daily News.
An outright ban already instituted by the city of Anaheim is subject to a pending suit in the California Court of Appeals, according to county counsel Rick Weiss.
“(Dispensaries) are turning a lot of money and have attracted the attention of armed robbers,” Assistant District Attorney Jacquelyn Lacey said, reports Jonathan Randles at The Santa Clara Valley Signal.
“Where there are armed robbers, there will be loss of life,” Lacey said. “(The ordinance is) not a judgment on medical marijuana use, but saves the county residents from any crime that a dispensary would bring,” she claimed.
No word on Ms. Lacey and the Supervisors plans to ban banks and liquor stores, both of which have a higher robbery rate than marijuana dispensaries.
According to the same study, pharmacies have an identical robbery rate to dispensaries. Are they going to be banned as well?