Who wants to sell some weed? After a judge shot down the heart of L.A's medical marijuana regulations and warned that if the City Council didn't patch up its rules there would be little it could do to control the spread of pot shops in the area, the body on Friday put some new amendments on the books.
At the heart of the 12-0 vote is a lottery system that will chose 100 pot shops via lottery that would be able to stay open. Only those shops that were open before Sept. 14, 2007 would be eligible for this grand prize: The right to legitimately sell weed in the city of L.A.
Under the new amendment …
… shops among those 100 that are out of compliance with other parts of the law (being too close to schools, for example) would be allowed to areas that are deemed appropriate for the seeing of bud.
It appears the lottery system will put about 35 pot shops that would have been allowed under the previous version of the law out of business, according to the Los Angeles Times. Likewise, the more than 400 other shops that had opened since Sept. 14, 2007 are apparently out of luck (though some are suing the city).
Some pot shops have closed and reopened since L.A. first tried to get its pot shops in order last year by only allowing the original 135 to stay open if they complied with other rules, such as the school-distance provision.
But a judge in December knocked down the core of the city's law, saying it wasn't fair to shops that might have been confused by a 2007 deadline to file to stay open in the city or face a moratorium.
Under the new ordinance the Los Angeles Times calculated that only about 40 pot shops ultimately would have been eligible to stay open as a result of management changes (not originally allowed) and being too close to churches and schools.
While Friday's move would increase that number, it's still seems like a small amount of dispensaries for a city that has become the pot shop capital of the world.
With the city acknowledging that a budget crunch meant it wouldn't have the resources to legitimize pot shops any other way besides a lottery system, we wouldn't be surprised to see outlaw shops continue to operate and open.
The money's just too good, and the risk for some is probably worth it. (Even though medical marijuana in California is supposed to be a nonprofit enterprise).
If anything, by acknowledging that its hands were somewhat tied by budget issues, the City Council just told pot shop entrepreneurs that L.A. is still (wide) open for business.