Controversial Regulations To Purge L.A.’s Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Takes Effect Today

Los Angeles’ controversial municipal ordinance capping the total number of medical marijuana dispensaries that may legally operate in the city, regulating how operators must conduct their business, and restricting where such facilities may be located takes effect today.

Los Angeles ordinance No. 181069 seeks to limit the number of legally zoned dispensaries within city limits to fewer than 100 in total. The ordinance will allow for at least some additional facilities to maintain in operation if they opened prior to the passage of city’s 2007 moratorium prohibiting new dispensaries, and if they comply with the newly enacted guidelines.

Under the new rules, city officials would require dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from certain ‘sensitive’ public locations, such as schools, parks and other gathering sites – restrictions that would compel many existing outlets to either close their doors or change locations.

It is estimated that some 400 facilities will likely be forced to close if the measure is stringently enforced.

Commenting on the new L.A. law, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Medical cannabis dispensaries can be safely and positively integrated into the community in a way that addresses the legitimate concerns of law enforcement while at the same time maintaining the spirit of the law and properly meeting the needs of the patient population. Unfortunately, L.A.’s arbitrary and overly restrictive ordinance will do neither.”

He continued: “Ideally, oversight regulations must acknowledge that a majority of the public support these operations, that these facilities serve an unmet community need, that they create jobs and spur economic growth, and that they dispense a product that is objectively safer than commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals. It is unfortunate that Los Angeles ordinance No. 181069 fails in large part to reflect these realities.”

To date, over 20 lawsuits have been filed against the city arguing that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it prohibits patients’ access and infringes upon state law.

Under the ordinance, unlicensed facilities determined to be dispensing medical marijuana could face daily fines, a $1,000 penalty, and six months in jail.

Local law enforcement authorities told the Associated Press that they “won’t take any action against medical marijuana collectives in Los Angeles until they tally how many of the shops have defied a new ordinance,” a process that could take several months.

NORML will have additional details on this story in this week’s media advisory.

51 thoughts

  1. I wonder if liquor stores and businesses peddling 6 packs and cases of beer are restricted in the same manner. Typical politicians still operating with the premise that marijuana is a dangerous substance with little community support. Their electorate supports medical marijuana and they are not listening to them. Time for a change. Time for some pro-cannabis politicians to kick these ignorant clowns out of office.

  2. Of course, this will be pointless after Californians end prohibition in their state come November.

  3. You do such a good job of keeping us informed NORML and on educating us. Thank you.
    I don’t have the opportunity to comment as much anymore however, I am still very active and very appreciative to be associated with you.

    It may sound silly and immature, which it isn’t at all,
    but I Love You NORML.

  4. Isn’t it ironic that business establishments and citizens are expected to CONFORM IMMEDIATELY unlike law enforcement and the legal systems that take forever to conform to new laws enacted by the voting public. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t or shouldn’t complain. #2 David Flick got it right but how long will it take to enact the new laws so we can stop being busted to financially support the States by being busted, fined and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it, it’s all about the money. If there’s any addictions to mention here, it’s the States addiction to fining everyone that gets busted.

  5. I tend to have to agree with the law. ALthough, I claim ignorance on the specifics besides what was listed above I do agree that some regulations should be in place.

    To many of these dispensiaries are fly by night “drug” dealers. I dont see much financial accountability. Many make absurd amounts of cash and at the same time dont provide medicine at a reasonable price.

    In most cases the price is much higher then that of medicine sold on the street.

    Until regulations are set in place that track the supply chain, and have solid quality control standards, and provide medicine at reasonable prices no more then $40 an eighth I would have to agree that many be shut down.

    I think the more common sense approach would be looking into these “shops” in a per case basis.

    If you ask me, the whole medical marijuana argument is just malarky. It is a means to an end, but it just provides to much fodder for the prohibtionists arguments.

    Lets just hope that by January of next year we wont have to quarrell of petty details, and people who wanna use cannabis can use it at their own leisure with out having to jump through all the hoops.

    God Bless Cannabis, and those who make their living in the field, but marijuana isnt medicine it is a RIGHT. However you use it is up to you, not the doctors, the cops or anyone else.

    Lets make it affordable, and available, and work the details out from therein. Enough of this infighting and groveling….

  6. well liqour stores have laws saying how close they can be to schools and parks and whatnot. I’m sorry but i agree to a point, i mean, i bet a lot of the people will drive to a mcdonalds to get some food, no matter where in the city they got to go to get it. I dont think that just because the government is against a few things some people don’t agree with, that that automatically makes everything wrong. There are legitimate reasons to keep intoxicants of any kind out of everyday life for children, it’s just common sense. Just my opinion.

  7. Holy Smokes. We know what’s best! It’s for the common good! Starting to sound like Germany in the 1940’s. For the good of the country, turn in any jews for the common good. The City of Angels power elite – just look like morons, to this casual observer. (Not a racist post, just trying to set an example.) Can we equate the city powers to Nazis? The methods of prohibition enforcement does not seem to be much different. SWAT teams all dressed in black, making midnight raids. Shock and Awe tactics. Killing pets. Destroying property. Where do they get the power to operate like this? Time for a revolution?
    Question Authority. Poke the bear. Stick it to the Man.

    The Rev.sLeezy
    ULC of the Holy Smokes

    Citizen Against Marijuana Prohibition (CAMP)

  8. You know whats sad? I live in a tiny town and there is a liquor store next a christian rec center. Like right next to it. I see young kids go in to play foosball the same time a staggering redneck comes out with a case and a fifth. If people knew the truth about how much social peace simply smoking pot can bring and how many fights occur at drinking parties ( i know im one who has to limit my drinking) then theyd be begging for a dispensery or even a hippy pot dealer next to em. But no one here knows… weeds from the devil remeber? (sigh)

  9. Eric it must be nice not to have any medical reason for medical marijuana because that is the only way you would be calling medical marijuana “malarky” Without MMJ I was requiring 180 lortab 10s and 60 oxys a month to control my severe nerve damage but with MMJ just one or two lortabs a day is all that is needed. Don’t confuse your recreational needs to someones medical needs

  10. Look People i love 2 hit the j just as much as every 1 else if not more. but i agree sumwat with the government. seriously people if u have a problem with the government trying 2 keep illicit(spelling ?) drugs away from children… u can go fuck urself. seriously people even though cannabis is not harmful u still get high and kids dont need 2 be around that stuff its fucked that those dispensaries have 2 close down but they were gonna have 2 in november ne way.


    While I totally support the legalization of marijuana I also support this decision. The quality of some of these shops where one step above a drug den and their existence only hurt our cause. The Starbucks mentality needs to go; we need to show the opposition the business of marijuana sales and consumption can self regulate, so restraint, and be a asset to the community where store arise and not an eye sore.

    Frankly, the marijuana community should have made this decision on its own. Its a missed opportunity that would have demonstrated good form buy our leadership. Having a judge to tell us to do what we should have opted to do on our own is unfortunate.

    We need to pave the way 100% of the time. Any weakness will be greatly exploited by our opposition.

  12. i managed a collective for almost a year. that business was sold to new owners and i have moved on to other things but that location is now being forced to permanently close under these new restrictions. somebody above mentioned if liquor stores are bound by such regulations….i guess not since the liquor store 4 doors down from our collective is allowed to continue legally doing business….hypocritical much?

  13. Regarding Eric’s point about regulation and cost controls. Opening up the market will create competition driven price reductions. No government needed.

  14. If its truly medical why are they treating it like porn, alcohol etc. Do drug stores suffer the same penalties? Just more control. This plant has medical properties period. The science is there even though many have attempted to sweep in under the rug.

    I also think its up to the dispensaries to portray a more professional approach. Calling medicine silly names is just a mark against them and more fuel for the fire on the prohibitionist side. If its medical everyone should be treating it as such. If its fun recreational usage then that would be fine but its not.

  15. I agree with D: There are legitimate reasons to keep intoxicants of any kind out of everyday life for children. Everyone with perscriptions drugs and children in their homes need to buy safes to lock up their drugs. No more medicine cabinets, only combination safes will do.

  16. I think that LA’s leaders that are responsible for this outrage should get thrown out. I hope their names are made very public before the next election!

    I believe that a certain percentage of the people getting medical marijuana get it purely to get high. But – that is A-Okay with me. It’s a symptom of the failed prohibition. People are going to get it one way or another, and getting a prescription is probably their best option.

    I’d like to have the option in my state and I am working toward it!

  17. I agree with Marijuana nation, home delivery is the way to go. Maybe go green and do it all bike courier? Nah, just use those E-bikes, only a couple of hours charge for about fifty miles. That’s quite a large delivery area for a metro area isn’t it?
    @Eric- Why does everything have to be something for nothing? I accept that some strains are expensive, and dispensaries might overcharge as well, but the regulation would fix these issues. I don’t believe self-regulation would ever work either. Someone should grow reggies, and someone should grow middies. Simple right? I would grow reggies and charge $25 a lid. Why not, if I were legally afforded the right to grow for commerce. I would grow an acre outdoors for sale and a greenhouse of some GreenHouse. For my consumption obviously.

    As to the article at hand, I do think disreputable dispensaries should not be allowed in “sensitive” areas. However, if said dispensary was say “private”, why not allow it anywhere? All you need is an office with a few hundred square feet. Delivery service on the 10k e-bikes would keep traffic nonexistent. Couriers could be required to be licensed to dispense, transport, and store product. Couriers would benefit greatly if they were also growing and processing,thus ensuring proper taxation and regulation. If consumers were given a choice of different products, everyone would be able to afford bud. I can’t currently afford to pay 400 or even 300 an ounce. It simply will not fit into my budget. If I was able to buy some reggies from a reputable courier service, I would happily pay 25 a lid, I’d even tip the courier. Diversity in income levels is the name of this game. Provide for everyone and the true figures on taxes will be astounding. I don’t mind payin taxes, we will never get rid of them. Taxes should be percentages, not whole dollars though. That’s ridiculous. Even a ten percent tax is not that much. On my lid? Only two fifty Yo! And it comes with a doghouse. Wow, I’m burnt now, Thanks Norml!!

  18. No less than they must tell the truth about hemp. To save the world. Free the weed.

  19. The one thing that ties all this together is the chaos that gets worse and you, us, the MJ community & supporters, I mean no one, can do anything about the control that government has over the average American in conjunction with freedom of choices. We already fought the battles for freedom and now we have to fight for it again, negotiations don’t work or haven’t you noticed the crap most States are putting up with.

    I’m not too religious but it’s all right there for everyone to read in the Book of Revelations of the Bible. Chaos, utter Chaos in the last days.

    So I only have one thought to leave with you. Do you think Jesus will allow marijuana to be smoked for our own pleasure when he shows up to be the King of the earth? Guess what, obviously Satan doesn’t like it, because you like it, and it helps us in countless ways too numerous to mention here. So just maybe the answer to the question is, “yes,” based on the Satanic view of MJ.

    Now if government is taking your freedom to choose MJ away from you, who do you think they follow more, Good or Evil. Well, are we going to put up a fight? The old saying, “Freedom or Death,” is for me. What about the reader’s freedoms, yeah you reading this? November elections will produce what the people want or war and more chaos, mark my word here and remember it. Do something to legalize MJ in your own way or support MPP, NORML, L.E.A.P. and countless others but get with the program, any program!

  20. wait till NOV when it come legal and everybody wants a shop and the taxes that goes with it , then they won’t bitch then because of all the money its going to make in taxes!!!

  21. Mike: Thank you for reminding everyone that Marijuana has been used as a treatment for centuries, my thoughts of well being go with you.

    True American: Right on Target! We need to develop the winning strategy and move it forward nationally.

    All over the country teachers are losing their jobs as we spend 42 billion dollars on prohibition, this is a disgusting display from the elected officials. 42 billion dollars would pay an average fully encumbered labor rate of $75,000 for 560,000 teachers! Or 11,200 teachers per state. If a state wants to keep prohibition they can forfeit their shares and leave it for the states with their heads not up their (insert expletive here.)

    What I can’t understand is how the drug cartels and our government can be on the same side wanting prohibition of this drug.

    The logical thing to do from our government standpoint is to cut the funding for the drug cartels that are costing tens of thousands of lives each year.

    Redirect that wealth to farmers, retailers, and other small businesses.

    Redirect the prohibition funds to education, which is objectively more effective in reducing abuse than prohibition.

    Provide a safer alternative to alcohol.

    Change back the function of our local police to serving and protecting the public interest at local levels with local understanding and remove the federal involvement in local policing.

    Let the states decide how they will function with it or without it.

    Let the free market decide what people want, after all we are supposed to be a free market economy right?

    We are pounding nails with our foreheads with the marijuana prohibition stance, and I am getting a headache.

  22. Mike…You should read my post a little more carefully. I never downplayed the effectiveness as MMJ as a drug. All I said was that “the MMJ argument is malarky…” not MMJ itself. You have the right to use what ever you need to make yourself feel better.

    It is a shame that the argument even has to exist. If you remember during the 70’s MJ was almost legalized, but unfortunately for many reasons it floundered.

    My point was this. It is silly that the MMJ argument has to even exist. We shouldnt have to use rhetoric to persuade the masses that MJ is harmless.

    Mike, go back into the history books, and do a little more studying, similarly please read my post in depth a little bit better and try not to make harsh judgements regarding my stance.

    MMJ is a fairly new argument in the fight to legalize, and I never once discredited it potential uses.

    My point is this. We should not have to resort to “using the back door” in trying to make Cannabis legal. Historical, it is the most useful, safe, and theraputic substances known to man. It is just a shame that it cant be taken at face value, and you have to “jump through hoops” to get your medicine, and for anyone else that has a legitamite need.

  23. PS Mike I have Crohns disease, and I used Cannabis everyday to help reduce my inflammation, so I have a very real medical need for this substance, and I think it is presumptive, and downright offensive that you would be so quick to make snap judgements about me and my motives. God bless you, but please read my article in-depth before you assume, and go off on a silly rant.

    Of course MMJ is useful. I never once discredited its potential.

  24. Wasn’t doggin’ on you Eric, Mike’s post just made me think about the people that are being denied Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    I agree there should be no restrictions.

  25. The warmer months it stands to reason have more crime than colder months, and on top of that previously visible cannabis sales at these retail establishments will devolve to the streets. Now all their retail customers are hunting for it out on the streets again. This is bound to lead to turf battles. From a crime reduction standpoint, this is a horrible move. It’s totally half-assed because they didn’t have the other half about giving these locations time and acceptable locations to move to under the new framework. The front of the frame is gilded and beautiful for the sake of the children but the back of this framework is rotted and old-thinking.

    A quick solution is to allow trailer kiosks during the daytime and evening for certain hours at certain locations, you know, like those used by food vendors. Keep a mind on security, you know, precautions against crash and rob, and let em move in and park in the morning and move em on out late in the evening.

    Avoid that crime monster you’re creating!

  26. Be careful what you wish for ! When our beloved can-o-bliss is legal Uncle Sammy will have his greedy hands all over our plant in so many ways it wont be funny honey ! put that in your pipe & smoke it !

  27. Who cares about liquor stores? This is not a intoxication issue. This is a medical issue. Are Walgreens, CVS and Walmart phamacies under the same restrictions?

  28. A reply to Theo. Better perenting skills would prevent the need for medical safes. Putting something out of reach for a child will work for a while, but eventually you only spur a curiousity towards drugs. We all know teens(for the most part) go through a contrary stage where they will not listen to their parents and rebel. I agree that the pills should be put in a special place, but at the same time real education about drugs would stop more overdoses and deaths. You may be able to lock up your meds but you can’t lock up everyone else’s. The best solution is to do completely away with the pills and just use herbal medicine. That is by far the safest method.

  29. California is in an ideological civil war. It’s being fought for economic reasons. Certainly the 100 or so dispensaries that will survive the law will support the law. It establishes, by law, a sort of monopoly for those businesses. Fewer competitors, fewer choices for the people, longer lines, less quality, and there you have it.

    Pity. Maybe California can strike back with legalization. Guess what? Obama and the Supreme Court will be waiting, and even if Cali can pull enough votes, the man you elected president, and his Supreme Court appointees, will be there waiting to squash it. Sometimes I say things that I hope and pray are wrong.

  30. Make it safe and easy to get. Keep it simple.

    I want to work.
    I don’t want to go to jail.
    I don’t want to live in fear of the police.
    I don’t hurt anyone.
    I want to be legal, so why do they make it so hard.
    why are they so afraid.

  31. I actually think this is legitimate. It should be legal and regulated so as to have it co-exist peacefully with society. How close do you think they put bars to schools? Weed if legalized in california will be just like having drinking legalized with people smoking at 21.

  32. anyone got a list of the currently open dispensaries in Los Angeles? The ones that grandfathered in?

  33. $42,000,000,000 in prohibition costs reallocated to education would employ 560,000 teachers.

  34. So lets all do our part to fight to make consensual sex and alcohol illegal and criminal crime. Get everyone on the anti bandwagon then ride their wave to legalization. If we have to suffer, why don’t we ensure every vice is made to suffer because currently pot is safer then both sex and alcohol and has a much lower health and economic cost on society… Lets take their oppression and turn it on their own vices…

  35. To Don M. Actually if a parent is taking a prescription drug, yes your correct i would hope parents wouldnt be talking about, and acting funny about prescription drugs on such a large basis as to be a constant environmentally developmental part of the childs memory and early life. And while i fully understand and support medicinal cannabis, I also am not a completely naive and ignorant person as to not understand it is also much MORE widely viewed by EVERYONE, both society and subculture wise, as being a recreational entheogen. The means it deserves a little more discretion around children. Our childhood is about finding out about ourselves, and while marijuana helps those ends, it also disorients and while a childs brain is developing, which can actually go on through young adulthood, hence age 21, i believe marijuana, and yes, prescription drugs, should be kept behind closed doors, reasonably speaking. Obviously if you want to be an extremist, go ahead and put em in a safe. Or just continue being an argumental asshole and hurt the cause even more with your misdirected negative energy. whatever works.

  36. And Cooley is running for Attorney General of the State of California. That scares the shit out of me.

    We the People of the State of California are 81% in favor of medical cannabis. Therefore, when charges are brought against a 11362.5 defendant [in compliance] with the laws of the State of California, the complaint should not be brought on behalf of, or in the name of We the People of the State of California. We the People do not verse a legal anything. We do however verse anyone violating the law they’re suppose to be upholding. I think that goes for any state with compassionate use laws.

  37. to #11 think,yes, regulation is ok but,i must say something that no one talks about.this, whole “kids will get a hold of it”bullshit.and, it is a main reason thrown at the people who dont know anything about cannabis. it is ultimatly up to parents to control it at home. our government says its ok to use alcohol but , dont give the shit to your children….we adults have a very, moral obligation towards our off spring.i personally would never want to be responsible for teaching my child to drink or smoke.when their old enough,an they decide to consume then, i will gladly share the time with them. they get to decide that for them why wouldnt it be just the same for cannabis…..why in the hell do people feel that parents would teach their kids to use an intoxicant.. im tired of that line of excuses why its illegal. this is what we got to get across to people.just because it may be legal, it doesnt mean parents are going to be irresponsible an start givin it out to yer kids and their friends…i wrote a letter to charlie christ an of course, that was one of the many bullshit reasons for his negativity concerning legalizing and that, is what i told him. give some credit to millions of good and honest people that happen to feel cannabis should be a part of their life.many benefit from its use in awesome life has been enhanced these 32 years with herb.that does not mean i will give it to my school aged child.we do exactly the same with the disrespect to you #11 just wanted to get that across to those that feel it is an issue with cannabis legalization.people who dont know need to here that those who consume cannabis are responsible about its use in all ways.they need to here it from those of us who know first hand. thanks to norml for all they do….peace to you all.

  38. gonna be a tight chess match come nov in cali.

    richard lee has his act together. we need to find ways to increase our support.

  39. #42 I am 1 thousand % behind what you have said. I am a father of 4 children.I also suffer from Cadasil and the only medicine available to me is nothing, but what my doctor prescribed which was Marijuana. Since I have been using this medicine all the attacks that cause the small veins in the brain to explode have stopped completely. My Father passed away at the age of 33 from Cadasil I have been alive 5 years longer and feel wonderful. In studying this plant for almost 20 years and having the OK from the doctor to use this medicine. This child garbage has to stop and it is mostly the fight of young mothers who are sadly ill educated and never once sat down to read about it so they stick with 1920’Angslinger horseshit. I thought this was the 21st century lets all quit the BS that marijuana causes anything horrible to you or even close to what an alcoholic beverage does to anyone.

  40. No one is ever going to stop me from using my medical Marijuana. I cannot afford any more of those brain attacks. I would either die from a lack of brain function or become a man that belongs in a NUT house.

    Sorry Can’t afford either of those.

  41. Tenneessee Activist, re post 4,

    While I agree with you as concerns your arguments about govt prohibition, I can’t help but get the feeling that you give business a free pass when it comes to MJ. Concerning Calif’s vote this November, in the eventuality that MJ does get legalized, you ask how long will it take govt to enact the new laws? I agree with that. But you fail to address that other tricky question: in the wake of that bill getting passed, how long will it take companies to stop drug testing?

    Another poster on these boards and I have discussed this issue; I’d like to hear your opinion as well.

    Best wishes, longtime puffer.

  42. the state is only trying to regulate these things so that they can move in and start making money..thats the real reason that theyre trying to legalize, basically spitting in the faces of people who really need this for medicinal use.we might as well legalize norcos or oxy or maybe some would be the same other than the goverment would be loosing millions instead of making millions.i feel that making marijuana legal is like turning something thats a serioius alternative to pharmesutical drugs into just another pack of ciggeretts.

  43. #48 seems bent on complaining no matter what. Yeah you want it legalized yet complain about the legalization because the Gov. is gonna dip in. Wasn’t that the plan all along? Use the “Medical” angle to gain a foot hold so we can ascend farther. In the medical marijuana forum we all win. Patients get their meds, and responsible adult use is now a much more practical reality for the rest of us. Just be happy it’s now available to you, and stop worrying about others.

  44. Regarding # 47. This is a very sticky place to be. I am a MJ user, and employer. I have a zero tollerance policy on the job. The problem lies in the time frame. MJ metabolizes quite slowly. If you use at home, you will pop dirty a week/month later.
    A worker should be judged by the quality of their work. Not how they spend their free time.

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