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Los Angeles Approves Rules for Marijuana Dispensaries

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 29, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

California's recreational pot law goes into effect in January, and the state's largest metropolitan area wants to be ready. On Monday, the Los Angeles city council approved new cannabis industry rules and regulations for growers, manufacturers and sellers of marijuana, including licensing requirements, operating hours, record-keeping, and security measures.

And as with any new industry or new regulation, there are going to be some growing pains. Here's what L.A.'s legalized pot industry may look like.

Marijuana Maps

L.A. recently unveiled a series of maps detailing exactly where pot shops can exist, given the city's proposed buffer-zone rules that mandate that dispensaries must be 800 feet distance from schools, parks, libraries, churches, and other dispensaries. As LA Weekly pointed out, 800 feet is longer than your average city block, so the buffer will make dispensary space scarce within city limits.

That distance exceeds the state-mandated 600-foot buffer, and cannabiz advocates aren't too pleased. Ruben Honig, executive director of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, told LA Weekly the buffer is a "a bad idea" that "will reinforce the illicit market and make it a lot harder for disadvantaged communities to participate in this industry."

Licensing Laws

There is also concern regarding a regulation that will require current dispensaries (selling medical marijuana) to shut down on the January first and wait for a retail license to be granted, a wait that could be permanent. While there has been talk about an exception for those dispensaries, operators are worried the closure will either force them to leave the Los Angeles or shut down permanently.

Puffing in Public

And then there are existing restrictions on smoking in public, some of the harshest in the nation. There are already limits on smoking in public, smoking in bars or restaurants, and smoking in hotels, and landlords may even bar tenants from smoking in rental units. Proving that anti-drug legislation isn't the only hurdle to getting your pot shop up and running.

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