[Image via the LA Times' handy interactive dispensary map.]
People, we have an ordinance. The City Council finally approved marijuana dispensary regulations this morning, and now all that's left to figure out are the fees...and the inevitable lawsuits. The ordinance caps dispensaries at 70, and with exceptions for shops that were already operating legally, there will be about 150 allowed. LA Weekly's dispensary count turned up 545 dispensaries currently operating in the city, but the LA Times reports "City officials believe there are more than 500 that will be required to close under the ordinance." Either way, a lot of dispensaries are going to have to shut down. And here come the lawsuits: the LAT says if dispensaries stay open after being told to close, "the city attorney's office likely will take them to court." (The dispensary owners are already planning their own legal actions.)
The other hot ordinance topic was location, and the City Council went with a strict 1,000 foot buffer (as opposed to 500 feet) between dispensaries and protected places--"a school, public park, public library, religious institution, licensed child care facility, youth center, substance abuse rehabilitation center, or any other medical marijuana collective(s)." Pot shops also can't be next to or across the street from any residences, so it's going to be a fun puzzle to figure out where you can put one of these guys. The ordinance does include a neighborhood distribution based on population for the 70 permitted dispensaries, but since no new shops are opening any time soon, this is probably more of a City Council wish list.
· Los Angeles City Council approves medical marijuana ordinance that will shut down hundreds of dispensaries [LAT]
· Medical Marijuana Collectives / Ordinance [Office of the City Clerk]