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Judge Blocks City Move to Limit LA Pot Dispensaries

Lawmakers eye 'emergency legislation'
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(credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — More medical marijuana dispensaries could pop up in
Los Angeles because a judge Friday blocked a key portion of the city’s regulatory ordinance.

However, a councilman vowed to enact “emergency legislation” that would prevent the ruling from opening the door to new dispensaries.

The ordinance, which took effect in June, limited the number of pot dispensaries to the 187 that had registered with the city and opened prior to a 2007 moratorium.

It also prohibited new dispensaries from opening if any of them closed, with the goal of reducing the number of pot outlets in the city to 70.

But today, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr ruled the city had improperly extended its moratorium, creating confusion over the deadline for dispensaries to register with the city and violating the rights of other dispensary operators.

KNX 1070’s Bill Polish reports

The judge noted the city could amend the ordinance to make it enforceable, but issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the existing restriction on more dispensaries.

Mohr acknowledged his ruling could lead to a proliferation of dispensaries in the city.

Councilman Ed Reyes said he would meet with his City Council colleagues on Monday to discuss “emergency legislation” to stop new dispensaries from opening while the City Attorney’s Office tweaks the ordinance to address the judge’s concerns.

“I’ll be working, along with my colleagues, to protect our city,” said Reyes, who spent years working on the ordinance that was partially struck down.

“We’re going to be considering emergency legislation, looking at different ways to implement any type of planning (and) police power tools we have, any type of enforcement tools that we have to make sure that the people who choose to abuse this environment will find that the city is going to protect our neighborhoods to the extent possible.”

The judge did not invalidate other parts of the ordinance that restricts where the dispensaries can be located.

A spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, which supports medical marijuana, said he had just heard about the ruling and would defer comment to the group’s staff attorney, who was not immediately available.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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