LA City Council Set To Ease Medical Pot Restrictions

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The City Council on Friday moved to ease the city’s stringent medical marijuana regulations with an amendment that could allow up to 140 dispensaries to remain open.

The council asked the city attorney on Friday to draft an amendment to the ordinance adopted earlier this year that sought to shut down roughly 400 medical marijuana clinics that had illegally sprouted through the city.

About 180 of the dispensaries applied in June to remain open, saying they met the ordinance’s key requirement of registering with the city before a 2007 moratorium went into effect.

The ordinance also requires that dispensaries be in their original location, have no change in ownership/management since registration and that management have no criminal record. They must also be located away from schools, be incorporated as a nonprofit and meet other criteria.

Of the 180, only about 40 met all the criteria, surprising even city officials who had estimated that about 130 would pass muster.

Under the proposed amendment by Councilman Paul Koretz, the ownership/management requirement would be loosened so that having only one primary owner or manager from the initial registration would be sufficient to meet the ordinance’s criteria.

“We need more clarity,” said Councilman Bill Rosendahl. “We need to move forward on this issue.”

If the council approves the amendment at next Wednesday’s meeting, the city clerk will review all registrations to determine which qualify.

If the final total of approved dispensaries numbers less than 70, the ordinance states a lottery will be held to bring the number up to a cap of 70.

Meanwhile, the city faces about 30 lawsuits filed by 85 dispensaries, most of which were among the 400 ordered to close.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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