Thursday, October 15, 2009
West Hollywood Medical Marijuana News
WeHo to consider shift on pot clinics
By ARIN MIKAILIAN, Staff Writer
Story Published: Oct 8, 2009 at 2:01 AM PDT
Story Updated: Oct 8, 2009 at 2:01 AM PDT
A new ordinance that would require medical marijuana dispensaries to
obtain business licenses from the city will come before the City Council
for a vote next month.
Under the current municipal code, the opening of dispensaries and
operating rules are governed by zoning laws.
Those policies are now being developed into prerequisites for obtaining
a business license, said Laurie Yelton, an associate planner in the
city's Planning Division.
She said not much should change in how dispensaries are operated.
One of the main purposes for pursuing this shift, said city officials,
was to take more than location into consideration when an applicant
seeks to open a dispensary.
"Things will be based more on the operator, not on the address of
the property," Yelton said.
An environmental review of the effort will be available to the public
until Oct. 15 at 5:00 p.m.
A moratorium on medical marijuana clinics was in place from March 2005
through January 2007. In February 2007 a permanent ordinance was adopted
by the City Council.
Most of the medical marijuana policies outlined in current city code
will be transferred to the process of obtaining a business license.
A closing time of 8 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. on
Sundays, will continue to be enforced, as well as the policy that any
marijuana purchased must be smoked at home.
But a few new stipulations are being added.
A recommendation authored by city staff states that only "limited
cultivation of marijuana on-site is permitted."
The space designated for growing marijuana shall not exceed 25 percent
of the total floor area, and in no case greater than 1,500 square feet
or ten feet in height.
A minimum 25 percent discount is also to be made available to qualified
in need, and the language defines who qualifies as someone in need.
Don Duncan, owner of the Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group, called
the move to require clinic owners to get business licenses a
"sensible step" and that he doesn't think he will be
"The operational requirements are still the same," he said.
"I'm happy with that."
The city's cap on the number of collectives will remain at four,
with prospective dispensary owners only being allowed to move in when
another moves out.
"We want to keep a limit on it," Yelton said. "We have a
population of 36,000, we want to keep it relative."
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