This is a frustrating day for medical marijuana patients of L.A. as the city has made aquiring medical maijuana more difficult by forcing the closure of the majority of the over 500 dispensaries currently operating within city limits. Last Friday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a controversial move, signed a new ordinance that will shut down an estimated four hundred medical marijuana dispensaries. A letter being finalized by the L. A. City Attorney's office and set to go out Tuesday or Wednesday will order the operators of medical marijuana dispensaries deemed to be illegal to shut down by June 7, the date that the new ordinace requires dispensary operators to conform to the new regulations.
The new ordinance allows for dispensaries that were opened before a November 2007 moratorium to apply to the city of L.A. for the right to stay open, as long as they meet new, more retrictive zoning requirements. Some of the new zoning rules include requiring dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools, public parks, public libraries and religious institutions, as well as each other. If two dispensaries are currently within 1,000 feet of each other, the city clerk's office will determine which one can stay in its current location, and which one must relocate. Many dispensary operators have said they plan to challenge the ordinance in court on the grounds that it will effectively zone dispensaries out of existence.