It has taken over 5 years, but L.A. has finally decided to take the bull by the horns and close hundreds of shops that dispense marijuana. The L.A. City Council put into place the last piece of a city ordinance that is designed to control not only the number of shops, but also the fees that they will pay to stay in business. After two years of work the city council has finally adopted a final version that was designed to answer the public outrage about the number of shops that were dispensing the medical pot.
The new law, which goes into affect June 4th, must now be published prior to be instituted. An L.A. Times article states:
Under the ordinance, the only dispensaries that can remain in business are those that registered when the city adopted a moratorium in 2007 and are still in business. City officials have estimated that number is 137. All other collectives will receive warning letters after the mayor signs the law and cease-and-desist letters in June.
Operators of the dispensaries that would be forced to shut down have been weighing their options. At least 25 dispensaries plan to file lawsuits next week. “We believe we have a legitimate right to exist,” said Dan Halbert, who runs Rainforest Collective in Mar Vista.
David Welch, the attorney representing the 25 collectives, said the suits would challenge the preferential treatment for collectives that registered under the moratorium. He noted that a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ruled that the City Council illegally extended the moratorium, so the ban was not in place when most dispensaries opened.
Bill Rosendahl was the only council member to vote against the fees. He lambasted the ordinance as too prohibitive.
“I think it’s just totally insane and over the top,” he said.
One could take issue with the fact that such an ordinance could be perceived as being unlawful. But regulations concerning the number of bars located within city limits have been in effect for years. What could be unlawful is the way the law is being implemented against those shops that are currently in business. Only time will tell what happens in and out of court.