BUMMER: Los Angeles City Council Votes To Shut Down Most Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


ASSOCIATED PRESS: The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday tentatively approved an ordinance to close most of the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries, winding down months of debate on how to limit the rapid spread of such clinics. The ordinance, if passed next week by a simple majority of the 15-member council, would cap the number of dispensaries at 70 and require them to be at least 1,000 feet from “sensitive uses” — schools, parks and other public gathering spots. The local law would put an end to the proliferation of pot dispensaries. As many as 1,000 have cropped up over the past few years. The ordinance would also likely force remaining clinics that comply to move to industrial areas because of the distance requirement. Four dispensaries were open in 2005 when a local medical marijuana law was discussed by city officials — who acknowledge the ordinance won’t solve all the problems. “I think it’s a beginning point,” Councilman Ed Reyes said after Tuesday’s meeting. “We have to get control of this issue and shape a policy to make medical marijuana more accessible to those who need it.” While other California cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and West Hollywood have been able to regulate medical marijuana, Los Angeles city officials have discussed an ordinance for years, trying to adopt language that jibes with state law. The number of clinics exploded this year — more than 600 over the past 10 months alone — despite a 2007 city moratorium prohibiting new medical marijuana dispensaries. The shop owners took advantage of a loophole known as a hardship exemption that allowed them to open while awaiting city approval. However, more than 180 clinics qualified to remain open because they came before the ban was enacted. About 137 of those dispensaries still exist and would be allowed to remain open if they meet other requirements in the new ordinance. MORE

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