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Some Marijuana Dispensaries Get Reprieve in Long Beach: Will Los Angeles Give Pot Shops a Second Chance?

Some Marijuana Dispensaries Get Reprieve in Long Beach: Will Los Angeles Give Pot Shops a Second Chance?

Andrew Hecht

Long Beach is giving marijuana dispensaries a second chance. At least some of them.

And as the city at the center of a court case that could help decide the fate of pot shops in the cannabis collective capital of America, Los Angeles, that city's decision could offer hope for dispensary supporters here.

Here's what the L.B. City Council decided last night:

In an 8-1 vote it moved to ban all dispensaries, as originally planned, except for "18 city-approved operators" that will get six months to prove their worth to the people of the LBC, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

While that might sound onerous for the city's pot business, keep in mind that 18 represents about a third of the dispensaries in town, apparently: 35 that are allegedly unlicensed would be ordered to close under the vote, according to the P-T.

The big question is, would this move be legit?

The city was threatening to shut down the whole pot game after a state appeals court said municipalities like Long Beach couldn't permit and approve-by-lottery pot shops when the federal government has essentially outlawed all things marijuana.

That decision, Pack v. City of Long Beach, sent chills through the cannabis retail world, and the city of L.A. has since moved forward with an outright dispensary ban of its own that is expected to reach the Los Angeles City Council as soon as this month.

But in making its move to save at least some of its weed sellers, the Long Beach City Council is letting what it believes are clean retailers stay open while the Pack case is considered by the California Supreme Court. That decision could take months.

Will the L.A. City Council follow and give at least some of its dispensaries a reprieve? At this point it doesn't seem likely. But you never know.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]