Marijuana Dispensaries Will Stay Open Despite L.A. Ban, Some Say
See Also: Where to Buy Marijuana in Los Angeles After Dispensary Ban Takes EffectWhen Los Angeles' marijuana dispensary ban takes effect Sept. 6, there will still be plenty of pot shops open, and not just in neighboring cities like West Hollywood and Long Beach.
After we called several dispensaries this week we found that many in L.A. proper were planning to stick it out, despite the council-enacted prohibition that covers all retail cannabis shops in city limits.
--Some said that they were awaiting and even participating in court challenges that essentially question cities' rights to ban dispensaries.
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--Some said they hoped an Americans for Save Access voter referendum would overturn the ban and save their stores before they had to be shut down.
--Others said they were among the 182 shops that opened before a 2007 city moratorium was enacted and hope to be grandfathered in.
--Yet others said they'd stay open until the city sent them a letter expressly telling them it's time to close. (We reached out to the city attorney's office about just such a possible letter but had yet to hear back.)
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In each case, dispensaries that stay open would be walking on thin ice, as none of these appear to be ironclad legal saviors. Court challenges could take months; the voter referendum will take months. And a City Council proposal to save the pre-2007 dispensaries is being drawn up and studied, but for now the ban is the law.
Yami Bolanos of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Association told us, "There's not a consensus yet" regarding what dispensaries plan to do, but she said the organization was fully behind the ASA's signature-gathering effort that seeks to have voters overturn the ban.
Sam Sneed, director of the Weedit-it Collective, told us he's staying put:
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What are they going to do? I'm not going to give up my First Amendment rights. They been shutting people down since they started. That's nothing new.
A representative of a Hollywood dispensary who didn't want his name used told the Weekly it had yet to hear from the city formally and that "we're definitely staying open."
The operator of a San Fernando Valley shop told us it is signing on to a lawsuit against the ban. The dispensary will stay open and, he believes, is somewhat safe as a pre-2007 shop.
A rep from a shop on Melrose Avenue said she believed "we should be fine" because it was a pre-2007 business.
A Koreatown collective operator told us it was taking the situation "day by day."
But at the Hollyweed Dispensary, another pre-2007 shop, operators didn't plan to take chances. Their long-fought legitimacy was on the line, manager Sunny Simms told the Weekly, and if the city expressly told it to close, it would do so:
We do plan on shutting our doors around Sept 6. We would be liable to lose our business, and we can't risk that.
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