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Closing Marijuana Dispensaries Could be Bad For Environment, Pot Advocates Argue in Legal Filing Against City of L.A.

It's fun to watch the medical marijuana industry battle City Hall. It's been pretty successful. And you gotta wonder if the inspirational properties of whatever neon Kush is in vogue these days really do inspire some of the pot-backers' more-creative moves.

We're doubly impressed by this latest attempt by the pot-shop establishment to challenge a city ordinance that aimed to whittle down the number of cannabis retails from more than 500 to about 100 or so.

In the strangest legal challenge yet to the city's (so-far failed) authority to regulate the shops, the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients actually argues that ...

... shutting down hundreds of bud outlets could be bad for the environment.

James Shaw, the union's director, said this in a statement sent to the Weekly:

No one ... has recognized that the ordinance cannot be implemented at all until an EIR is prepared, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, on the impact of reducing the number of medical cannabis locations from 400 to 100 and then forcing most of the 100 to move.

That's right, wiping pot shops off the map has environmental impacts that haven't been examined, as they should have been, under state law, according to the challenge.

Now, you'd have to scratch your head to fathom how getting rid of a business could have an environmental impact. But smoke a good bowl of kindness and you might come up with an answer.

Here's the one given by union attoney Jamie Hall:

Shutting down pot shops would mean that other dispensaries would have to take on the extra burden of growing more weed and serving more customers. And thus -- you guessed it -- environmental impact.

A stretch? Heck, we thought seeing a weed seller on every corner would be a stretch when Prop. 215 passed in 1996. (And look at L.A. now. It's the pot-shop capital of America).

Shaw, the union's director, said 75,000 to 100,000 patients could be displaced if all those dispensaries were closed down by the city.

A judge put the city's ordinance on hold in December. The city rewrote its law and is appealing that decision.

A press conference to formally announce the challenge was scheduled for 12:30 today on the steps in front of City Hall.

For now, we watch the fun unfold.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.


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