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article imageL.A fills in weed moratorium loophole

By Andre Hamilton     Jun 29, 2009 in Politics
Los Angeles residents are concerned about the growing number of medical marijuana facilities in their city. Will city officials put the kibosh on an overpopulation of shop operators?
As a kind of time out for California's Proposition 215, L.A. council members voted June 9 to fix a legislative error in the city wide moratorium that bans any new dispensaries from opening.
The loophole results from a standard provision in the moratorium that allows some medical marijuana dispensaries exemptions from closing.
The moratorium passed in September 2007 was supposed to keep any new facilities from opening, but the 186 collectives that were registered before the passing of the moratorium are automatically exempt. The hardship exemptions allowed unregistered dispensaries to appeal to be allowed to operate in the city of L.A. Los Angeles' attorney's office are not prosecuting dispensaries that filed hardship exemption applications.
Citing that City Council needed to rule on pending requests first. Some residents of L.A. have said the loophole helped boom the opening of new collectives instead of limiting them.
A total of 533 dispensaries have applied to operate in the midst of a temporary ban on any new medical marijuana venture and residents were starting to complain about the number of dispensaries popping up almost overnight.
One half mile strip of road in the Eagle Rock neighborhood has no less than 5 collectives, so officials in the city are stepping up efforts to control legislation. L.A.P.D. chief William J. Brattons recommended keeping the stores at least 1000 feet away from places where children frequent. The recommendation was not in the city ordinance.
On June 19 the council denied the first 14 hardship exemption applications of about 500 total. The council also voted unanimously to extend the moratorium itself by six months. The City Council adopted the moratorium to Proposition 215 on September 14, 2007 to buy time to write a comprehensive ordinance regulating dispensaries.
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