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Dispensary operators say L.A. marijuana ordinance will harm patients

Medical marijuana dispensary advocates assailed the Los Angeles City Council's vote today to approve a medical marijuana ordinance, saying the measure was unworkable and would dramatically restrict access to patients who need the drug.

The council voted 9-3 to pass the long-awaited measure without discussion, but supporters of medical marijuana then streamed to the microphone during the time for public comment. "It's a disaster for patients," said James Shaw, the director of the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients.

City Council members, however, expressed relief that an ordinance should soon be in place, even if it may require some changes. "I think we did our best to interpret the state law the way it is written," said Councilman Ed Reyes, who oversaw much of the ordinance's drafting.

The ordinance will allow most dispensaries that registered with the city in 2007 to continue to operate, a number that may be around 150. But those stores will still have to comply with the location restrictions, including being at least 1,000 feet away from schools, parks and libraries.

Many operators said today that they will be unable to find suitable locations because the City Council also added restrictions to keep the stores from abutting or being across an alley from residential property. Operators also said that landlords, aware that there are very few buildings that can meet the tight location restrictions, are already jacking up rents.

Barry Kramer, who runs California Patients Alliance, a registered collective on Melrose Avenue, said that he looked for eight months for a location that was not near schools and other sensitive uses before he opened 2½ years ago. Because of the alley restriction, he said he will be forced to move. "The frustration is that we've tried to work so hard, 2½ years of working with everything that they've brought down," he said. "Now, all those good operators are going to be cast aside."

The ordinance does not take effect until the City Council approves fees that dispensaries will have to pay, but the operators that have to move, which is most of them, are already racing to find locations. "We're scrambling right now," Kramer said. "No, we have not found anything."

Neighborhood activists, who have been vastly outnumbered at every City Council meeting, urged the lawmakers to act quickly to begin to enforce the ordinance. Lisa Sarkin, chairwoman of the Studio City Neighborhood Council land-use board, noted that there were 13 dispensaries in the area. "I can't imagine how this could be necessary," she said.

An organization representing medical marijuana collectives that registered with the city is considering hiring a well-connected lobbyist to pressure the City Council to make changes and a lawyer to investigate whether there are grounds to sue.

Dispensary operators who did not register, many of whom opened last year, are exploring whether to sue the city or collect signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance.

"We are prepared to go forward and stop this ordinance," said Dan Lutz, who operates the Green Oasis dispensary. "I regret that we have to go this route."

-- John Hoeffel in City Hall

See related story, Los Angeles City Council approves medical marijuana ordinance that will shut down hundreds of dispensaries

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Comments () | Archives (25)

Whiny losers! Boo hoo, the government won't let you make $10,000 a day from drug dealing in public any more. Give me a friggin' break. Why don't you go out and get a real job?!

It sounds like the City Council did its best to work out a compromise. In a compromise, not everyone gets everything they want. Access to medical marijuana does not guarantee that operators can use any location they want, nor does it mean that it's OK for 10 dispensaries to operate in a 5 mile radius. Something's not quite right when dispensaries outnumber pharmacies. Some limits are appropriate.

I feel bad for Barry Kramer, though. He made a good faith effort and it's too bad that he's being forced to relocate. Good luck, Mr. Kramer. I wish you much success in your venture.

This is a worthless article without a breakdown of the votes. We need to get to work getting these people out of public office immediately.

right on pete, the 70 dollar eighth is over for the clubs. they profit while the patient suffers.

Guns
Tobacco
Booze
Synthetic corporate pharmacy drugs
^^^^^^^^^^
All these things do is kill people. To me, they are all bad, all lame, all things that people do not need in society.

Weed- One of the most beneficial plants known to man. It helps out people who are sick, people with problems. It helps people mellow out and relax.

But for some reason, there is a faction of people out there that are brain-washed zombies, that still believe that weed is a evil in society and should be abolished. People like this make me sick, that because other people don't agree with their ideologies that it should be made illegal.

I think if Marijuana remains illegal then we should make alcohol, tobacco, guns and pharmacies illegal too.

There are dozens of medi-pot clinics now in Eagle Rock and they're so discreat most people don't know of them unless they know a patient. You NEVER see people hanging outside like they do at bars all over the place. There are far, far worse things out there to be spending time on than this.

An organization representing medical marijuana collectives that registered with the city is considering hiring a well-connected lobbyist to pressure the City Council to make changes and a lawyer to investigate whether there are grounds to sue. Good idea.

Let the people of California vote on legalizing pot, and respect the results, either way. The people have voted for Medical pot, but it doesn't seem to be respected by some law officials in office here. They need to remember they work for the people and the people spoke. Make it safe and accessible, and keep it away from schools and parks and houses of worship, and move on.

If you don't like or believe in pot, that's fine. However respect other people's points of view even when they are DIFFERENT than yours. Then you get their respect back .

Adults can make up their own mind, and don't need you (anti-pot people) doing it for them anymore than you want someone else to make decisions for you.

The only thing it is going to hurt is their Botton Line.

I am pleased to see that the Fallacy of Medical Marijuana will slowly be exposed. Just look at the Rehab institutes regarding Pot smoking and maybe the chemically dependent people will find help to getting away from the addictive product.

Dispensary of such a product is a complete scam and no real DR. would sign off on this stuff unless they are making money on it on the side.

I'm glad they are putting a limit to the dispensaries. As a patient, I don't want tons of places where people can charge what they want and not sell quality medicine. Once there is a limit, the prices will be more competitive and the medicine will be better.

Dealing drugs in public? Then you'd better have a talk with Starbucks. Caffeine is a drug. Tobacco? Nicotine is a drug. Just about everything you ingest is a drug of some sort.

Pete if you think cannabis costs too much, you should speak out to end prohibition. Truly legal cannabis would be very inexpensive.

Reasonable compromise is based on balancing genuine reasonable concerns.
Most of reasons given for such onerous zoning requirements are not based on reality. They are based on fear, prejudice and ignorance. They also represent an appalling double standard, why is it that liquor stores or pharmacies dispensing powerful pain killers aren't subject to such regulations?

Why is it that when it comes to this subject, so many adult humans become completely irrational.

The L.A. city government can't even keep the restrooms clean at the LACC until everyone has gotten ill. What are they making LAWS for?

What are the alternative medications ?

Does medicare have a copay for a perscription?

Is marijuana a legal substance?

Why not just grow it at home?

Those places that are for patients and not profiteers probably would have anticipated such a ban (an alley? seriously) and are already located in locations where they should be causing no harm.

I don't feel sorry for anyone who thought that they would be able to operate anywhere in the city.

This isn't a right, it is a priveledge from the voters of California. Start treating it like it is. Besides, if legalization comes, all bets are off.

The marijuana shop advocates fought a good fight, but ultimately the people of LA and the City Council just got sick and tired at this ridiculous idea that hundreds of thousands of sick and dying people won't be able to survive if LA cuts down on the number of marijuana shops in the city. Please, let's be real here. San Francisco has 23 marijuana shops in the entire city and you don't see sick people there complaining.

The council was very reasonable in allowing 70 marijuana shops to cater to those people who really need marijuana to make their lives more tolerable. The remarks being posted here are more truly about the sad fact that the marijuana shop owners who have been making a lot of money from selling pot, are now going to have to find real jobs.

"Why don't you go out and get a real job"?

...

$10,000 a day!

Well, your data is wrong but youve got the idea.

Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but how long do you think they would sit around and let the little guy make profit? The RX market is the dirtiest and most profitable market in the world. Marijuana is beneficial for everyone. It isolates cancerous cells and suffocates them. It saves people from kidney and liver problems set in from taking hadfuls of pills a day. The anslingler/Reefer Madness days are over. Get educated, you talk like a fool when you go on and on with outdated rhetoric. Before you nock it try it first, you'll see its a blessing and its not a curse. Stop corporate takeover of self-made organic medicine. Listen to yourself, and listen to a patient.

If only Pfizer grew it. Then this wouldn't be a problem. Medicine is medicine. You need a Rx to access it just as you would pills at a drug store. Maybe they should move all pharmacy's. I wouldn't want kids leaving school and getting their hands on the countless items at a pharmacy that could kill them way quicker than a plant... If you're going to set laws, set them for everyone. And to those who bash it, you should probably bash it to the face of a cancer patient who it benefits. I'm sure they'll value your uneducated, unexperienced, and heartless opinion. After all, you sure are smart...

Why are there restricting the number of dispensaries if they do not restrict the number of pharmacies to purchase prescription drugs at. This sounds like they are stuck in the "refer madness" era. Maybe they should educate themselves.

Oh Pete, the dispensaries remaining will now earn $30,000 a day. Econ 101 supply and demand. With the high demand for medical marijuana and the closing of 800 dispensaries means a lot more money for the 70 to 180 that remains in business. And, now the Drug Catels will go back to earning their $10,000 a day from drug dealing in public.

Yup, I agree with PETE, dispensaries have taken too much money from the patient, now we're talking. So weed will now become cheaper. We also have no LIMITS on how much we each can grow for ourselves, so we're ALL GOING TO SEE POT EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!
sO YOU ARE VERY RIGHT PETE, whhhhhaaaa to the dispensaries, CAUSE NOW FREE WEED IS IN THE PATIENTS HANDS AND IN ABUNDANCE TOO!!!!

It's funny how the pro marijuana people write their comments during working hours. It's almost as if, they don't work and all milk the state (IE EBT Cards/WIC). Secondly, cancer patients, and severally ill people should have the right to purchase it. However, It has it has got some what out of control now. Come on people, 24 year parolee's, with pulled muscles in their back and who suffer from obesity. Take the pre qualification test. I told then I was on probation for dope, had ingrown toe nail, and that I did not suffer from any other medical problem. The said, "Tim come on in, and we will hook up. Just bring 130 bucks and will give you some weed and doctors note." This is all one big scam if you ask me.

I am a medical marijuana patient. The ordinance will not "harm" me. The ordinance will "harm" dispensary owners financially.
I can grow my own or use a delivery service and pay less than dispensary prices.
They have profited enough off the medical problems of their neighbors.

Last year, volunteers with the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association fielded about 100 calls, many of them asking questions related to neuropathy, which causes pain or numbness in the feet. To get the ball rolling this year, we asked a few questions of our own.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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