City’s new medical marijuana dispensary regulations challenged

Just when you thought we had some clarity – repeat some clarity – on the medical marijuana issue in terms of regulations and location of dispensaries, there comes a challenge although not local. What’s more, it’s medical marijuana activists, not a group of residents or businesses. In March, the city passed an ordinance making the dispensaries legal, but the law limits the number of dispensaries to 36 and prohibits them in many areas. Now comes a group, the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients Inc.; it has filed suit in Superior Court, and the claim is unique, to say the least. The L.A. advocates say the city failed to evaluate the possible side-effects on traffic and air pollution the regulations might cause.

The suit says patients needing marijuana will have to travel farther than necessary because the regulations are so restrictive; the longer travel translates to traffic congestion and air pollution. The City Attorney counters that no environmental analysis of the ordinance was required. The office also says the ordinance now provides a legal way for dispensaries to open, i.e. widening access for patients. Local advocates aren’t thrilled about the location restrictions either: the dispensaries are limited to a small number of commercial and industrial zones, and only four dispensaries in each council district. But given the delays and the issues with law enforcement, they oppose anything that would hamper the dispensaries opening legally. They call the suit an end run around the council.

Categories: KUSI