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Thursday, January 28, 2010

L.A. City Council Passed Ordinance Restricting Dispensaries

The day of reckoning is upon the Los Angeles, California medical marijuana dispensaries. The L.A. City Council, after four years, has voted on and passed an ordinance mainly restricting the number of dispensaries in the area as well as requiring them to be located in industrial areas. "The ordinance caps the number of dispensaries at 70, but makes an exception for those that registered with the city clerk in 2007 and remain in their original locations or moved just once after their landlords were threatened with federal prosecution. City officials believe there are about 150 such dispensaries", according to the LA Times. Every action, as we know, has a reaction and that is exactly what advocates of medical marijuana had. The new ordinance will mark the beginning of years of lawsuits and red tape; which will inevitably turn into more chaos than before. People feel as though their rights are being violated and they're are being restricted from getting their "medicine".

The City Council has also placed restrictions that will end L.A.'s late-night pot scene. Dispensaries will now be required to close their doors at 8 p.m., no more consumption of marijuana will be allowed inside the "pot shops". One other interesting change will be where patients can acquire their "medicine", now patients will be designated to one collective; you will no longer be able to go to any dispensary you want. City Council hopes that the new controls will prevent dispensaries from making a profit. People in Los Angeles are concerned about the crime that dispensaries could potentially bring to their neighborhood. It is interesting that pharmacies, like Rite Aid and CVS, who have much stronger narcotics and are robbed regularly, are not restricted to industrial zones only. But, not much of anything related to medical marijuana makes much sense, perhaps it never will.

The next six months in Los Angeles County will be nothing short of a free-for-all. Dispensary owners will be scrambling to move their shops to designated safe zones, while other owners who will be forced to close their doors will be forced underground. The new ordinance may backfire on the city, when it finds that many people go back to selling marijuana illegally with no restrictions at all - like it was before the medical marijuana debate ever existed. We will certainly be following this story closely as the debate progresses - or digresses.

Here is an interesting video with Kevin Pereira interviews the Executive Director of Harborside Health Center regarding medical marijuana dispensaries and the Los Angeles City Council's new regulations.

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