cannabisnews.com: Only a Quarter of Dispensaries To Stay Open

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††Only a Quarter of Dispensaries To Stay Open

Posted by CN Staff on August 26, 2010 at 06:20:59 PT
By John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times†
Source: Los Angeles Times †

California -- Los Angeles officials announced Wednesday that only 41 medical marijuana dispensaries are eligible to stay in business under the city's restrictive ordinance, a number so low that the city will suspend the winnowing process and ask a judge to rule that it is legal."It was a surprise," said Jane Usher, a special assistant city attorney who worked closely with the City Council to draft the complex medical marijuana law and is defending it in court.
After a two-month review of dispensary records, the city clerk determined that three-quarters of the 169 dispensaries that applied to remain open did not meet the requirements in the ordinance. Some of the ineligible dispensaries are among the most reputable in the city.Yamileth Bolanos, who runs PureLife Alternative Wellness Center and is one of the most politically active operators, found out her dispensary was ineligible when the city clerk posted the list on its website. She rocked rapidly between anger and distress. "I'm not going to take this lying down," she said. "This is ridiculous. They have screwed up one thing after another."Los Angeles experienced a dizzying increase in the number of dispensaries when it failed to enforce a pot-shop moratorium put in place in 2007. Hundreds of dispensaries opened with no city oversight, a trend that angered activists in many neighborhoods.The city's ordinance, which took effect June 7, aimed to shut down an estimated 400 dispensaries. It made an exception for 182 that had registered with the city under the moratorium. But in order to stay open, those dispensaries were required to show that the owners and managers had not changed; that they had no major criminal records; and that the store was at its original location or had moved just once after being threatened by federal narcotics officials. Dispensaries deemed eligible would still have to complete a series of steps to gain final approval."We took a very strict interpretation of the ordinance and if it didn't match the ordinance exactly, then we declared them ineligible," said Holly Wolcott, the clerk's executive officer.The clerk's office sent letters Wednesday to the dispensaries notifying them of their status. "I'm sure every one of them is going to call us," Wolcott said.Rather than move ahead with a selection process that would clearly trigger a spate of new lawsuits by disqualified dispensaries, the city attorney's office plans to sue the ineligible outlets first and ask a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to determine that the city's process was appropriate."We're trying to be proactive," Usher said.Los Angeles is already tangling with about 85 dispensaries that have filed almost 30 lawsuits challenging the procedure the City Council adopted Jan. 26 to limit the number of dispensaries. Most of the dispensaries that have sued are among those that were ordered to close in June.David Welch, an attorney who represents 56 dispensaries that have sued the city, said he has at least 16 other clients on the ineligible list. "I guess what the city has created is a race to a courthouse," he said. "I expect that all of my clients will file suit."Judge Anthony J. Mohr is presiding over all the lawsuits and has already held numerous hearings. He has set a Sept. 21 hearing on constitutional issues. It is unclear how quickly Mohr might act on the city's lawsuit, which the city attorney's office intends to file Thursday."The judge has considered things very expeditiously to date," Usher said. "He seems to have a very keen awareness of the harm it causes to the community to leave this unaddressed."Councilman Ed Reyes, who oversaw the drafting of the ordinance, stood behind it Wednesday, saying that the multiplying lawsuits were inevitable in a litigious society. "I'm just glad that we're at this stage of the process. It's been a long time coming. And 41 is better than zero," he said. "I'd rather start slow with a very low number that we can control."Under the ordinance, if the number of medical marijuana dispensaries drops below 70, then additional dispensaries would be chosen in a lottery and the total would be capped at 70.The city clerk's list does not indicate why the dispensaries were found to be eligible or not, leaving operators exasperated Wednesday. "There's never been any complaints against us. They're going to have to explain it to me," said Bolanos, who heads the Greater Los Angeles Collectives Alliance, which represents about 60 dispensaries that registered in 2007.The city will not seek to shut down the disqualified dispensaries before Mohr considers the issue. "As of Tuesday," Usher said, "the entities that filed notices of intent to register and who fully comply with state law will not be prosecuted under the city's ordinance."Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: John Hoeffel, Los Angeles TimesPublished: August 26, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: http://www.latimes.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/Q9FVxJdjCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/medical.shtml 

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Comment #12 posted by afterburner on August 27, 2010 at 05:02:25 PT
Hope #8 - OT
"It's like they want to wipe mom and pop type businesses out of the picture all together."Memo to Political Leaders: When You Think Job Creation, Think Natural Health (If You Donít, Other Countries Will).
August 17, 2010 
http://www.anh-usa.org/memo-to-political-leaders-when-you-think-job-creation-think-natural-health-if-you-dont-other-countries-will/
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #11 posted by afterburner on August 27, 2010 at 04:26:16 PT
FoM #9 - OT
"That's how it seems to work in this modern era."Janine R. Wedel and Linda Keenan.
Posted: August 26, 2010 08:53 AM.
Shadow Elite: Selling Out Uncle Sam -- The Collision of State & Private Power 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janine-r-wedel/emshadow-eliteem-selling_b_695298.html
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #10 posted by John Tyler on August 26, 2010 at 20:01:44 PT
backdoor prohibition 
This tactic by the city council to get rid of cannabis medical clinics diminishes the argument some of the medical cannabis clinics had to keep cannabis illegal and available only at their places. The only way to defeat this backdoor prohibition is to relegalized cannabis and make it available to the people.   
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on August 26, 2010 at 19:12:43 PT
Hope
That's how it seems to work in this modern era.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on August 26, 2010 at 18:58:59 PT
It's like they want to wipe mom and pop
type businesses out of the picture all together. 
That seems wrong. This seems like the sort of business that could do well... if it did a good job and delivered a worthy product... on a small business basis. A start up horticultural, gathering, curing, farming industry? And Mom and Pop can't participate? The little or middle sized guys aren't allowed to support their families well and produce a good product in this burgeoning new world?Only big money need apply? Only the wealthy and big companies? Only Wal-Mart, right from the start?
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on August 26, 2010 at 18:08:13 PT
LA Countersues Over New Medical Marijuana Rules
Thursday, August 26, 2010 LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles city attorney has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to back up the city's move to shut down 129 medical marijuana shops under a new ordinance.City attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan says the case was filed Thursday.The city clerk determined only 41 pot shops comply with the ordinance, which requires dispensaries to be 1,000 feet from schools, parks and other gathering sites. Owners also must undergo a background check and their pot must be tested at an independent lab.The suit asks a judge to determine that the city's strict process in interpreting the law was appropriate. The city said it won't seek to close any clinics before a ruling.About 30 marijuana clinics earlier sued the city to challenge its procedures.THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles officials said Wednesday that only 41 medical marijuana dispensaries can stay open under a city ordinance, and letters were sent to 129 clinics notifying them that they may be shut down.The city attorney's office said it expects a slew of lawsuits and will file a countersuit asking a judge to determine that the city's strict process in interpreting the law was appropriate. The city said it won't seek to close any clinics before a court ruling."We're trying to be proactive," Jane Usher, a special assistant city attorney, told the Los Angeles Times. Usher said the small number of eligible dispensaries was "a surprise."Nearly 30 lawsuits have already been filed challenging the procedure the city council adopted Jan. 26 to limit the number of dispensaries. Owners must undergo a background check, their stores must be 1,000 feet from schools, parks and other gathering sites, and their pot must be tested at an independent laboratory.Most of the dispensaries that have sued are among more than 400 ordered to shut down.Usher said the city's suit will be filed Thursday before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, who is presiding over all the lawsuits. He has set a Sept. 21 hearing on constitutional issues.Hundreds of dispensaries appeared across the city when officials failed to enforce a 2007 moratorium on medical pot clinics.When the city council passed the January ordinance, it estimated that about 130 dispensaries might qualify to stay open. Under that law, if the number of eligible dispensaries dropped below 70, additional clinics would be chosen in a lottery. The total number of dispensaries in the city would then be capped at 70.City officials said 170 dispensaries applied to be allowed to remain open, but 129 failed to meet the criteria. The city clerk's office mailed letters Wednesday to each dispensary notifying it of its status and also posted the list on the office's website.---Information from: Los Angeles TimesCopyright: 2010 Associated PressURL: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20100826/APA/1008261390?p=all&tc=pgall
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on August 26, 2010 at 18:00:03 PT
TotalRod2
I think that's very true.
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Comment #5 posted by Totalrod2 on August 26, 2010 at 17:21:06 PT
Let 'em!
Perhaps if these lawmakers showed a little more diplomacy, they could keep this prohibition thing going on a bit longer. But they've become so irrational in their ass-backwards thinking, they don't even realize they're defeating their own cause. So they want to close as many dispensaries as possible? Fine, let them. The way I see it, for many MMJ users who weren't in favor of outright legalization prior to this BS stunt, these LA. officials just fanned the flame! Come November, the people's voices WILL be heard.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 26, 2010 at 16:57:33 PT
Map: Most L.A. Pot Dispensaries Ordered Closed
URL: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pot-dispensaries-map,0,2261925.htmlstory
[ Post Comment ]

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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 26, 2010 at 15:58:55 PT

Hope
The way I see this all evolving is since capitalism is such a big deal in this country the ones that have will get and the ones that don't won't. The ones that push others out of the way usually win. Not in my book but that's how it is. I look at measuring success in a whole different way. I sleep well at night too. 
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on August 26, 2010 at 14:46:36 PT

Considering
it's about cannabis, and considering the terrible, terrible history of cannabis prohibition that we have been witness to... this all sounds relatively... maybe even extraordinarily civil.Still,it's all about one group of people wanting to "control" another group, and still leaning heavily to the goofiness of fearful prohibitionists... but at least they're not killing, arming themselves up for raids, I hope... or planning fire bombings, or making all sorts of dreadful and dire threats and promises of ill will, and vengeance laden rants of hate and fear.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 26, 2010 at 10:34:22 PT

HempCon Blasted for Cheap Medical Pot Doctoring

August 26, 2010URL: http://drugsense.org/url/4Zs9TteS
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