Council Weighs Law That Would Ban Most Pot Dispensaries

City Council committees this week will look at a proposal written by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich that would essentially ban most of the 800 or so medical marijuana dispensaries currently registered with the city.

The proposal would limit the number of dispensaries by district, prohibit the sale of pot for profit, and limit the amount of marijuana an outlet could have on had to five pounds or 100 plants.

Over-the-counter sales would be banned, and dispensaries could not be within 1,000 feet of other collectives, schools, playgrounds, churches, rehab centers and other institutions.

Dispensaries registered with the city that began operating before Sept. 14, 2007 would be given 180 days to comply; ones that opened after that -- most of them -- would have to comply immediately.

Pro-medical-marijuana advocates have said the proposed law would effectively put most of the dispensaries in L.A. out of business and cost the region millions in commerce. Trutanich says that's fine -- that they have not been complying with state law. The council's Public Safety and Planning and Land Use committees will hold a joint meeting today to consider the new ordinance, and the City Council could vote on it as early as Wednesday.

The city needs the new rule to begin shutting down outlets that the attorney believes are operating for profit. As it stands, there is no local municipal law regulating dispensaries. It's the Wild West.

The question is whether the City Council -- which has been looking at four other versions of such an ordinance for more than a year -- has the political will to touch an issue that irks both law-and-order voters and liberals who approved the state's medical marijuana law in 1996.


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