Controversial Regulations To Purge L.A.’s Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Takes Effect Today

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 7, 2010

    Los Angeles’ controversial municipal ordinance capping the total number of medical marijuana dispensaries that may legally operate in the city, regulating how operators must conduct their business, and restricting where such facilities may be located takes effect today.

    Los Angeles ordinance No. 181069 seeks to limit the number of legally zoned dispensaries within city limits to fewer than 100 in total. The ordinance will allow for at least some additional facilities to maintain in operation if they opened prior to the passage of city’s 2007 moratorium prohibiting new dispensaries, and if they comply with the newly enacted guidelines.

    Under the new rules, city officials would require dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from certain ‘sensitive’ public locations, such as schools, parks and other gathering sites – restrictions that would compel many existing outlets to either close their doors or change locations.

    It is estimated that some 400 facilities will likely be forced to close if the measure is stringently enforced.

    Commenting on the new L.A. law, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Medical cannabis dispensaries can be safely and positively integrated into the community in a way that addresses the legitimate concerns of law enforcement while at the same time maintaining the spirit of the law and properly meeting the needs of the patient population. Unfortunately, L.A.’s arbitrary and overly restrictive ordinance will do neither.”

    He continued: “Ideally, oversight regulations must acknowledge that a majority of the public support these operations, that these facilities serve an unmet community need, that they create jobs and spur economic growth, and that they dispense a product that is objectively safer than commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals. It is unfortunate that Los Angeles ordinance No. 181069 fails in large part to reflect these realities.”

    To date, over 20 lawsuits have been filed against the city arguing that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it prohibits patients’ access and infringes upon state law.

    Under the ordinance, unlicensed facilities determined to be dispensing medical marijuana could face daily fines, a $1,000 penalty, and six months in jail.

    Local law enforcement authorities told the Associated Press that they “won’t take any action against medical marijuana collectives in Los Angeles until they tally how many of the shops have defied a new ordinance,” a process that could take several months.

    NORML will have additional details on this story in this week’s media advisory.

    51 responses to “Controversial Regulations To Purge L.A.’s Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Takes Effect Today”

    1. Marc Emeree says:

      I wonder if liquor stores and businesses peddling 6 packs and cases of beer are restricted in the same manner. Typical politicians still operating with the premise that marijuana is a dangerous substance with little community support. Their electorate supports medical marijuana and they are not listening to them. Time for a change. Time for some pro-cannabis politicians to kick these ignorant clowns out of office.

    2. David Flick says:

      Of course, this will be pointless after Californians end prohibition in their state come November.

    3. Lea says:

      You do such a good job of keeping us informed NORML and on educating us. Thank you.
      I don’t have the opportunity to comment as much anymore however, I am still very active and very appreciative to be associated with you.

      It may sound silly and immature, which it isn’t at all,
      but I Love You NORML.

    4. Tennessee Activist says:

      Isn’t it ironic that business establishments and citizens are expected to CONFORM IMMEDIATELY unlike law enforcement and the legal systems that take forever to conform to new laws enacted by the voting public. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t or shouldn’t complain. #2 David Flick got it right but how long will it take to enact the new laws so we can stop being busted to financially support the States by being busted, fined and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it, it’s all about the money. If there’s any addictions to mention here, it’s the States addiction to fining everyone that gets busted.

    5. eric says:

      I tend to have to agree with the law. ALthough, I claim ignorance on the specifics besides what was listed above I do agree that some regulations should be in place.

      To many of these dispensiaries are fly by night “drug” dealers. I dont see much financial accountability. Many make absurd amounts of cash and at the same time dont provide medicine at a reasonable price.

      In most cases the price is much higher then that of medicine sold on the street.

      Until regulations are set in place that track the supply chain, and have solid quality control standards, and provide medicine at reasonable prices no more then $40 an eighth I would have to agree that many be shut down.

      I think the more common sense approach would be looking into these “shops” in a per case basis.

      If you ask me, the whole medical marijuana argument is just malarky. It is a means to an end, but it just provides to much fodder for the prohibtionists arguments.

      Lets just hope that by January of next year we wont have to quarrell of petty details, and people who wanna use cannabis can use it at their own leisure with out having to jump through all the hoops.

      God Bless Cannabis, and those who make their living in the field, but marijuana isnt medicine it is a RIGHT. However you use it is up to you, not the doctors, the cops or anyone else.

      Lets make it affordable, and available, and work the details out from therein. Enough of this infighting and groveling….

    6. Mike Stroup says:

      I don’t care if prohibitionists go kicking and screaming, just so they go.

    7. D says:

      well liqour stores have laws saying how close they can be to schools and parks and whatnot. I’m sorry but i agree to a point, i mean, i bet a lot of the people will drive to a mcdonalds to get some food, no matter where in the city they got to go to get it. I dont think that just because the government is against a few things some people don’t agree with, that that automatically makes everything wrong. There are legitimate reasons to keep intoxicants of any kind out of everyday life for children, it’s just common sense. Just my opinion.

    8. revsleezy says:

      Holy Smokes. We know what’s best! It’s for the common good! Starting to sound like Germany in the 1940’s. For the good of the country, turn in any jews for the common good. The City of Angels power elite – just look like morons, to this casual observer. (Not a racist post, just trying to set an example.) Can we equate the city powers to Nazis? The methods of prohibition enforcement does not seem to be much different. SWAT teams all dressed in black, making midnight raids. Shock and Awe tactics. Killing pets. Destroying property. Where do they get the power to operate like this? Time for a revolution?
      Question Authority. Poke the bear. Stick it to the Man.

      The Rev.sLeezy
      ULC of the Holy Smokes

      Citizen Against Marijuana Prohibition (CAMP)

    9. General Jake says:

      You know whats sad? I live in a tiny town and there is a liquor store next a christian rec center. Like right next to it. I see young kids go in to play foosball the same time a staggering redneck comes out with a case and a fifth. If people knew the truth about how much social peace simply smoking pot can bring and how many fights occur at drinking parties ( i know im one who has to limit my drinking) then theyd be begging for a dispensery or even a hippy pot dealer next to em. But no one here knows… weeds from the devil remeber? (sigh)

    10. Mike says:

      Eric it must be nice not to have any medical reason for medical marijuana because that is the only way you would be calling medical marijuana “malarky” Without MMJ I was requiring 180 lortab 10s and 60 oxys a month to control my severe nerve damage but with MMJ just one or two lortabs a day is all that is needed. Don’t confuse your recreational needs to someones medical needs