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Judge clears way for L.A. to begin marijuana dispensary crackdown [Updated]

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge Friday morning shot down a bid by medical marijuana patients to block the city's ordinance regulating dispensaries from taking effect Monday.

A group of 12 patients with illnesses ranging from anxiety and menopause to lupus and AIDS had sued the city and asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order preventing the city from enforcing the ordinance, which is expected to shut down more than 400 dispensaries.

They contended the law would unconstitutionally bar patients' access to their medicine.

Judge James Chalfant said because more than 100 dispensaries will be allowed to remain open in the city, patients will continue to have access and there was no reason for him to issue an emergency order stopping the city.

"If the city can ban all dispensaries, which it can, this is not an issue," he said.

The decision clears the way for the city to begin its enforcement effort next week.

[Updated at 1:17 p.m.: Later in the morning, Chalfant also denied requests from lawyers representing dispensaries to stop the ordinance. The lawyers contended their clients’ rights as property owners and their due process rights would be violated once the city’s law took effect.

Chalfant did order attorneys on both sides to file additional papers on whether allowing certain dispensaries to remain open while closing others would be a violation of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution.]

The dispensaries are challenging the City Council’s decision to prohibit all pot shops except those that registered with the City Clerk by Nov. 13, 2007, a procedure that allowed 186 to legally operate despite a moratorium on new dispensaries. City officials believe that 137 are still open. Those dispensaries will have six months to come into compliance with the ordinance.

In an earlier decision, Chalfant ruled that the City Council failed to follow proper procedures when it extended its moratorium, and declared the ban illegal. Dispensaries that opened after the ban have cited his ruling in challenging the ordinance. Chalfant has expressed skepticism about the council’s use of the 2007 cutoff as a way to reduce the number of dispensaries.

-- Victoria Kim

More: Complete coverage of marijuana from the Times.

Comments () | Archives (25)


Well as long as there are some open i really dont care. It doesn't make sense to have a law that gives people the legal right to have medicinal marijuana in California and then crackdown on the shops that have those services. It kind of sounds like a level of entrapment.

So i guess Los Angeles should shut down all the Rite-aids and walgreens too. They distribute Oxycoton from there which kills thousands of our children everyday!!! But we have a harmless alternative and the morons want to prevent anyone from leagally obtaining medication. I love politicians, they are so smart! Maybe one of these days they will pull their heads out of their a$$'s and clean the poop out of their brain. (dont hold your breath)

Give them high and they will turn around suing the city when thing go wrong.

Just the beginning if we let the right wing elements back into power... the ones who are still stuck in another century and believe it is worse than heroin.

I am so sick and tired of the pot advocates hiding behind medical patients and people with serious illnesses, when all that most of them really care about is getting high (and making tons of money off the pot trade). A very small percentage of the customers of these pot stores actually have real medical problems - and it's not a burden for them to go a few more blocks to get to the next pot store. The cynicism and greed of the pot advocates is just disgusting. I voted for Prop 215. But after what I have seen lately, I regret it.

It's sad when a patient doesn't have access to their medication. It's this judge's own personal agenda. Maybe the judge has an issue with sick people. It's close minded and prejudice against medical marijuana users. This isn't the 60's!

This is such a huge waste of time.

How about cracking down on illegal immigration instead, Judge?

'Bout time someone stepped in to stop this madness. Most of these dispensaries (about 95%) are fronts for phony medical complaints. Society doesn't need any more drugs.

I'm wondering if anyone entering one of these facilities is ever "turned down" by their "medical professionals"?

NONPARTISAN my patootie -- Time to crack down on judges -- June 8th and November 2nd.

Now Cheech and Chong have to drive 20 miles instead of walking 1 to get weed. You know how difficult it is to drive stoned dude? This is so Nazi Germany it's not even funny. Man, this totally killed my buzz...what was I talking about again?

To White and PMA,

After seeing what smoking pot does to a chemo sufferer, there is no doubt in my mind that pot is one of God's blessings for us. We are fools not to take advantage of all the benefits this plant offers us. Smoking it is just one part. The fibers in the stem are extremely useful.

Judge James Chalfant - Keep it up and maybe you can become the next Drug Czar for the protection of Oil, Chemical, Paper, and Pharmaceutical Industries. They are always looking for good BS artist. I remember the stories of E.I. DuPont who played a large role in the criminalization of cannabis. In 1938, DuPont patented the processes for creating plastics from coal and oil and a new process for creating paper from wood pulp. If hemp had been largely exploited, many believe it would have likely been used to make paper and plastic (nylon), and may have hurt Dupont’s profits. Andrew Mellon of the Mellon Bank was DuPont's chief financial backer and was also the Secretary of the Treasury under the Hoover Administration. Mellon appointed Harry J Ansgslinger who later became his nephew-in-law, as the head of the Federal Bureau of National Dangerous Drugs (FBNDD) and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics(FBN), where Anslinger stayed until 1962.
You must be a stockholder of Dupont and Weyerhauser.

Doesn't anyone realize what passage of this will do to the murderous Mexican cartels who make billions of dollars smuggling weed into our country? They will hate it! Does anyone really think the current laws--no jail time and a maximum fine of $100-- will increase usage if it becomes legal? Wake up, you wouldn't believe how many people enjoy a hit now and then--probably most of your neighbors.

Good thing our city attorney's office has so much time and money on hand to worry about closing down tax generating businesses during a recession.

There simply is no such thing as "medical marijuna" and Prop. 215 was a stalking horse for simple legalized recreational use, as can be seen by the fact that this year we will vote on legalization so that drug dealers can become legitimate businesspeople.

The vast majority of these "dispenaries" are kept in business by recreational users and I am glad that the City took steps to shutting down the ones located in, for example, residential areas. Even the L.A. Times' Steve Lopez documented how got a so-called "medical marijuana recommendation" without having even a demonstrable medical condition.

I realize that there are a lot of potheads, but when it gets legalized and business leave the state en masse because so many people are stoned on a regular basis, everybody that voted for legalizing it will be very sorry indeed.

The only reason behind these closings is that the major drug companies back the closings. Pot seriously cuts into their sales of pain medications. Just wait … there WILL be a THC pill in the near future. And you can be sure they will market it something like :
You can 'take' it anywhere.
No harmful or second hand smoke.
Your neighbor doesn't know you take it because there is no bud smell in your home.
The kids are safe because daddy/mommie are mellow.

Ok .. maybe not the last one

hey Venice beach site is cool, anyone else know about the og ones? this stinks, but with politics opening up legalization, regulation is how it begins.

So, all the pot dealers and growers will go back underground, the substance will not be regulated for pesticides and other possible harmful additives and the city/state will not be entitled to millions of dollars of tax revenue, which they badly need. And meanwhile, unethical doctors and pharmacies providing easy and cheap access to extremely dangerous and addictive drugs such as oxycontin are the REAL criminals.

This is ridiculous. Do you know how many consumers of alcoholic beverages would be livid if the city tried to shut down all of the bars next to schools, parks, churches etc. ??? They would riot in the streets.

Can it be November already so we can vote to make this LEGAL and the Judges can spend their time more productively?

Look at your community and keep it real. Do you honestly know how many people in Los Angeles smoke weed? Your mom smokes weed, your kids teachers smoke weed, your doctors smoke weed, and your lawyers do too. 186 shops is no where near enough.


Vote this Judge out, please. The people spoke with Prop 215. I hope that we can legalize pot once and for all. This is crazy. What makes this Judge think that he can do this? Add him to the list with Steve Cooley. Another ego maniac.

I guess some marijuana patients---like my roommate, who has an anxiety disorder and has been getting her weed from a dispensary around the corner---will just need to resort now to getting it from the kid down the street.

Meanwhile, 450 more commercial spaces will now be added to the list of vacancies! Just what we need, right?

Ridiculous. I hope everyone is paying attention and begins doing extensive research on these judges, especially since the elections are coming up next week. It's time to send these idiots a message--that honest citizens will no longer tolerate these ludicrous decisions based on appeasing financial supporters and their constituents. These decisions affect many, even to the point that many are persecuted and incarcerated for doing what is right for their well-being and that of others. Begin voting for judges who will do the right thing, rather than voting for those who will cave-in under political pressure and who willingly uphold this hypocritical state in our society--who are the real criminals?

Calling this a crackdown is a bit deceptive. It's more like a heroin-up.


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