Thursday, September 10, 2009
LA Medical Marijuana News
Where's the weed? Mapping L.A.'s marijuana dispensaries
September 10, 2009 | 6:56 am
It's green. It's herbal. It's organic. It's compassionate. It's healing.
And it's nonprofit too.
This plethora of adjectives is not describing a gimmick to cash in on
alternative energy or a new diet plan.
No, it's L.A.'s latest retail craze: medical marijuana.
Those words, pulled from the Los Angeles city clerk's website, were the
most common descriptors in the names of the 966 dispensaries registered
in the city.
A Times analysis of pot store names, however, showed that the most
frequently occurring word was the socialist-tinged "collective, "
appearing in 199 of the names.
Whether that choice of words is merely merchandising double-speak or
genuine cultural expression -- a point on which reasonable minds might
differ -- may ultimately be of little consequence.
But by plotting the addresses of the pot dispensaries, The Times has
made another finding: At least 260 of them fall within 1,000 feet of a
school, a library or a park. The distance is significant because it's
the buffer in a proposed law the Los Angeles City Council has been
kicking around for a couple of years. The ordinance is still pending,
with no vote yet scheduled, while council members figure out how to
shield their constituents from too much underground pot culture without
trampling the dispensaries' legal right to exist.
The marijuana conundrum goes back to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996,
passed by California voters. It legalized the use of marijuana for pain
or illness. Then in 2003, state Senate Bill 420 (yes, the same number as
the underground name for pot) authorized the attorney general to set
possession limits and shielded physicians from prosecution.
Alarmed by the rate at which dispensaries were opening, the Los Angeles
City Council in 2007 froze the number at the 186 already licensed. No
new ones were supposed to open unless applicants received a hardship
But the moratorium had the opposite effect as would-be pot impresarios
rushed to reserve their licenses by filing applications. The city
attorney opined that enforcement officials could not shut them down
while their applications are pending.
By the time the city cut off the exemption loophole in June, 779
applications had been filed. That's not to say that every one of them is
actually selling pot. Many of the registered businesses exist only on
paper, apparently filed by entrepreneurs who hoped to get a foothold.
Among them are the 58 registered at a single address in Northridge.
The City Council has recently begun crawling through the 779 hardship
applications, deciding on a case-by-case basis which will be allowed. It
has reviewed about 85 applications, and all of them were rejected or
-- Doug Smith and Thomas Suh Lauder
http://latimesblogs .latimes. com/lanow/ 2009/09/medical- marijuana- in-los-a\
Where's the weed?
Before a 2007 moratorium, the city of Los Angeles had issued 186 medical
marijuana dispensary licenses. Since the moratorium, nearly 800
applications for hardship exemptions have been filed.
Dispensary licenses and applications in the city of Los Angeles
http://www.latimes. com/news/ local/la- me-dispensaries- i,0,5658093. htmlsto\
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