Wednesday, October 21, 2009

LA Medical Marijuana News

Marijuana moratorium would be invalidated under ordinance

By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
Updated: 10/20/2009 08:14:39 PM PDT

A day after a judge invalidated the city's ban on new medical marijuana collectives, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich released a new ordinance that would better spell out how the facilities can operate and create safety standards for their product.

Trutanich also vowed to continue a crackdown on illegal operators of dispensaries.

"If you are illegally selling marijuana or supplying it in the city of Los Angeles, you should get out of business," Trutanich warned. "I don't need a new ordinance to go after you."

On Monday, Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ruled that the city's decision to extend a temporary ban on new collectives violated state law.

Trutanich said the decision will not affect enforcement of existing city laws dealing with the clinics, but City Council members said they felt a need to get a new ordinance on the books quickly. The moratorium overturned by the judge had been intended as a temporary measure while city officials spent two years debating and drafting a permanent ordinance.

The new draft ordinance, the fourth considered by the City Council since 2008, is the toughest version brought before the body and seeks to strictly control the dispensaries.

Under the measure, the shops will be open only from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., will be allowed to have only five pounds of marijuana on hand and no more than 100 plants. Also, all the marijuana provided must have been grown by the collective.

It also requires any dispensary not meeting the city guidelines to shut down immediately.

Kris Hermes, spokesman for the pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access, said he hasn't seen the ordinance yet but hopes it will resolve the issue.

"Los Angeles has been grappling with this isue for a long time and we hope they aren't trying to use land use laws to ban the dispensaries all together," Hermes said.

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