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LA Puts Medical Pot Shops on Notice

By Kamika Dunlap on May 06, 2010 12:50 PM

The city of Los Angeles is moving forward with its plan to shut down hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Collectives across the city were informed that they must close their businesses in order to comply with a recently approved city medical marijuana ordinance, the Associated Press reports.

More than 500 letters were mailed out to medical pot shops. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also recently signed an ordinance that sets fees for the pot clinics allowed to remain open if they meet stricter guidelines, as previously discussed.

The new ordinance caps the number of medical marijuana clinics in the city at 70. It also includes a 1,000 feet buffer zone from schools, parks and other public gathering spots.

About 137 eligible dispensaries have six months to comply.

City officials say the remainder have until June 7 to close.

So far, 21 collectives have sued Los Angeles to block enforcement of the new law. They are seeking a temporary restraining order against the city and their aggressive actions to shut down clinics.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and other prosecutors have taken a hard-line stance that state law authorizes the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes but not the sale of the drug.

He has targeted hundreds of medical pot shops that profit and sell to people who don't qualify for medical marijuana.

The lawsuit alleges that the buffer zone severely limits where clinics may operate. In addition, the new guidelines push medical marijuana dispensaries out of neighborhoods and into harbor and industrial areas such as the San Fernando Valley and downtown Los Angeles.


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