Los Angeles allowed to regulate medical marijuana

16:25, June 05, 2010      

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A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled on Friday that the city can go ahead with its ordinance to regulate medical marijuana.

In the ruling, James C. Chalfant rejected a request from patients and operators of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city to block the city ordinance that will regulate the facilities and force hundreds of them to close.

Chalfant noted that while regulating marijuana, the city's ordinance would not prevent patients from obtaining medical marijuana.

The ordinance requires the operators of more than 400 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles to close by Monday.

But the ordinance allows up to 186 dispensaries to remain open - -those that started before the City Council instituted a moratorium on Nov. 13, 2007. "Any existing medical marijuana collective, dispensary, operator, establishment or provider that does not comply with the requirements of this article must immediately cease operation," the ordinance states.

Dispensaries that opened prior to the city's moratorium will be required to file a notice of intent to register with the City Clerk 's Office and will be put on a priority list.

The ordinance requires dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools, public parks, public libraries and religious institutions, as well as each other.

It also bars dispensaries from being "on a lot abutting, across the street or alley from, or having a common corner with a residentially zoned lot or a lot improved with residential use."

If two dispensaries are within 1,000 feet of each other, the City Clerk's Office will use the priority list to determine which one can stay.

There were 186 dispensaries that opened prior to the moratorium, and about 130 are believed to still be operating, city officials said.

The latest developments came as the debate over marijuana was gaining momentum.

Californians are divided over whether marijuana should be legalized.

The supporters say marijuana taxes could raise more than a billion dollars in revenue, but opponents argue that legalizing marijuana would worsen social problems, such as increasing crime and triggering higher marijuana use among teenagers.

Californians will vote over the issue in November.

Source: Xinhua


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