L.A. City Attorney Again Enforcing Pot Shop Ordinance

The Los Angeles City Attorney sent out 46 letters to property owners Thursday, warning them that they are suspected of operating illegal medical marijuana dispensaries and must cease-and-desist or face criminal sanctions, a City Attorney spokesman told the Weekly Friday.

The City Attorney's office, which is in litigation over the pot shop ordinance that took effect in June, had previously told the Weekly that it was giving the out-of-compliance pot shops a reprieve until the litigation was settled. And so the infamous KFC pot shop boldly re-opened.

Perhaps responding to the awkward political atmospherics -- are we enforcing the ordinance or not? -- City Attorney Carmen Trutanich seems to have reversed fields and is going after shops deemed out-of-compliance.

The City Attorney is still holding off on shutting down about 130 shops in litigation. The ordinance, it was believed at the time, would shut down all but those 130 or so of the 580 thought to be in existence in June. The 130, it was believed, would be eligible for final approval because they set up shop before a 2007 moratorium on new shops.

But of the 130, just 41 met all the conditions of the ordinance to move on to final approval, according to the City Clerk. Conditions included having the same owner and management since opening; having stayed in the same location unless forced to move by the credible threat of DEA action; and passing a criminal background check.

The City Attorney is waiting to shut down those out-of-compliance shops until receiving a ruling from Judge Anthony J. Mohr that the ordinance is constitutional. The judge will hear oral arguments Tuesday. Even if the ordinance is ruled legal, the fight won't be over. Mohr gave the shops 45 days to make a case that they are in compliance with the ordinance and were wrongly denied approval by the City Clerk.

(A separate set of shops, closed in June, is also suing over the constitutionality of the ordinance. Mohr's ruling on the constitutionality of the ordinance will apply to those cases, as well.)


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