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L.A. starts closing 400 marijuana dispensaries. Is this a good idea?

Changing times

TalkBackLAMore than five years after the Los Angeles City Council began debating controls on medical marijuana dispensaries, Los Angeles Ordinance No. 181069 now takes effect.

Shaped by the council's conviction that the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries was fueled by a passion for cash and not a compassion for patients, the ordinance seeks to rewind a Wild West-type environment in which 600 dispensaries opened without controls.

The ordinance shuts down more than 400 stores that opened in the last 2 1/2 years. Dispensaries that registered with the city in 2007 will have six months to comply with new location restrictions, which will force many to move to isolated areas.

City prosecutors have declined to spell out how they will enforce the ordinance. "Our next step will be to ascertain the level of compliance," said Jane Usher, a special assistant city attorney. She said her office would rely on reports from police officers, building inspectors and neighbors to identify violators. Offenders face civil penalties of $2,500 a day and six months in jail.

Read John Hoeffel's full story here. How do you feel about the shutdown? Share your thoughts below.

Photo: Sean Cardillo, 36, operates two medical marijuana dispensaries on the Venice Beach boardwalk. An L.A. ordinance now in effect will close hundreds of the outlets. Cardillo has filed suit to try to keep his dispensaries open. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (40)

close 'em.

they were open under false pretense. They do not support the community finacially.

the whole doctor refferal thing has become a sick exploitation of terminal diseases

I'm glad all of our other problems have been addressed and that California's budget has finally been balanced so that we can focus on these oh-so-important issues.

This state is ridiculous.

leave them alone....peopel are going to smoke it eaither way.......i guess Villaragosa wants to keep feeding his drug lord buddies so he won't work to legalize but will keep the illegal trade humming.....more crime, more gangs and no revenue....makes lots of sense?

Closing businesses in the middle of a recession. While crime is down -- coincidence? One of the stupidest moves ever by these hapless politicians. Vote them all out of office.

Stupid idea...marijuana will be sold no matter what! The choice the government needs to make is whether they want to collect taxes and fill the state's coffers.

@camilo. I don't see how the doctor referral is an exploitation of terminal disease. The language of prop 215 is intentionally broad as it allows medical use for a host of illnesses, "or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief." That means if I have chronic headaches and marijuana provides relief, I'm a perfectly suitable candidate for medical marijuana under the law. Nowhere in the text of the proposition or SB 420 is there a mention of recommending marijuana only for terminal disease.

These dispensaries should clearly be allowed to stay open. Since they conduct their business in a private facility (which they have lawfully contracted to use, whether by rent, lease, or ownership) and only serve consenting adults, these dispensaries violate no one's rights. Furthermore, users themselves, qua users, violate no one's rights either. At the very least then it is no one's legitimate business to intervene.

Even more, the drug war has cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the decades. Have we still not realized that this country (not to mention state) is on an economically unsustainable course? We must vote for full legalization this November! We will save billions of dollars annually in California alone not to mention the boost in revenue from taxes.

Finally, In response to Camilo: Different types of people prefer different types of recreation. Providing for these different preferences is a legitimate way to generate funds and does indeed support the community financially. Some people like to spend money going to the movies and some like to spend it on marijuana. If you ask me both are a waste of funds for the buyer but people still have the right to trade there money for whatever makes them happy as long as they don't violate someone else's rights. And like it or not, the cinema and the dispensary both support a network of jobs and production and pay taxes.

This is called "Politics", my friends. People have to look busy doing something, even idiots.

It's okay people. For now on you'll see more pushers by your kids schools and in your neighborhoods. If you didn't smell the sweet smell of kush because they had a place to smoke it now you'll be walking through clouds of it. Many people think they won a major victory but i can tell you that its gonna get much worse, at least the city could of taxed them now there gonna be taking more of your tax dollars to fund drug forces to try and stop the hundreds of dealers that will close there doors and setup shop next to your kids dorme room. Thanks guys

LA has its head in a cloud. Just wait until november when we vote it legal for all. What will they do then and how rediculus will they look. The only thing city council is good at is wasting time and money.

How can we boost the economy in LA.. um i know lets close 200 businesses that pay taxes and put 1000s without jobs sounds like an all encompassing plan.

plus the way the ordnance is written all stores will close within 6 months because no one can comply 100% with it, its a big JOKE...

Glad to see time is being wasted on a witch-hunt when there are so many other problems in the state. Live and let live, folks!

The unregistered dispensaries should probably shut down as directed, but the registered ones should not have to move to isolated areas. If a medically approved treatment of medical cannabis is recommended by a doctor, the recommendation and purchase of the medicine should not be treated as some illicit drug deal. Forcing registered dispensaries to move to isolated areas produces an aura of something illegal and immoral. If these dispensaries are forced to move, then liquor stores and pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreen's, Rite-Aid, etc. should be forced to abide by a similar ordinance. Otherwise, this ordinance No. 181069 is clearly illegal discrimination.

Just tax them! You know what is going to happen now? The price is going to jump in LA. People will just end up going to Long Beach where the price is lower. So in the end it will be a detriment when it does become legal.
So freakin what if it is close to a school. Big deal. If the proprietor abides by the law there will be no problems.
In LA you have a much bigger problem to takle and that is the illegitimacy rate. More problems stem from that than from substance abuse in and of itself.
This is kind of like our healthcare system where we treat the symptoms and disregard a cure for the disease.

First off I have Crohn's Colitias and for years now I have medicated with Medical Marijuana and it definetly helps me 100% I wake up with nausea every day and it's no fun !! I have been prescribed tons of pills doctor's give you that thinking they help you, but acutally make your condition worst, so I am one for the despenceries to stay open, cause I know from experiance that this is a medicine that helps people and cures the illnesses they have !!

Yeah-- close 'em so they can open up another Walgreen's, CVS or Rite Aid. People need their meds, dammit!

people will get it regardless, so why not rid off street dealers by having to be 18+ to buy from these dispensaries. marijuana is a plant just like tobacco,wheat, etc. It only provides benefits, so quit wasting city/state money on cracking down on users who aren't even doing anything wrong. We have to focus our energy on far more important things

This is just crazy. Theres a shop aroud my area and you seriously cant even notice its there unless your looking for it. The people that go to it usually come out and take of quick.They never hang out around that area. And its a pretty good quiet neighborhood.I know a guy that goes to that shop in a wheel chair now his gonna be forced to take a bus to the nearest one which is gonna be about 1/2 hour away from our area

like always the people will need to deal with this at the ballot box, this very likely has more to do with money and politics than anything else including representing the better interests of citizens.

Pros and Cons of the new Ordinance:

Closing all these shops will only mean hundreds fo vacant storefronts, thousands of unemployed people, millions in lost taxes, increase in black market sales, millions of tax dollars spent in litigation, more funding for drug cartels, increased prices of medication which will hurt low income mmj patients that rely on there meds, tougher to access since they will be zoned out to mostly industrial areas.

A few city officials meet there political agenda.

70 to 100 dispensaries is all that is needed. Those who truly need their meds can find it within reasonable distance. As for the other 500 to 800, shut them down. There will never be any sufficient tax revenue from this business since its a cash business. These dealers (yes, dealers) know how to skirt the law and will have two sets of books. I would.

What a crock of crap! These losers arent sick Im glad soemone finally close these dumps down!!!

I have a question. The guy in the picture, Sean Cardillo, looks like he is smoking pot. Now, he looks healthy, he's 36. Why does he need to smoke pot? I think an investigation, like what Steve Lopez of the Times started to do a couple of months back, into how these pot cards are dispensed. I wonder how many of these cards are given out under false pretenses. Does Mr. Cardillo need to smoke pot for the pain caused by his many tattos?

Well, I'm safely north in the land of BC bud, and Washington's i-1068 is destined to pass this year allowing all of us to enjoy legal herbage.....but in the meantime I can't help but wonder if California's budget problems, illegal aliens, poor schools, and general malaise wasn't encouraged through this behavior. Maybe if everybody wasn't working every scam they could to get a doctors note (I have 11 relatives in your state with "papers" LOL), they'd have seen all the other scams being pulled on them......sooooo funny!

Legalize it for everyone, tax it if you must, and stop allowing people to exploit and profit off the misery of the sick. Then start fixing the rest of your state before the other states give up, boot you out, and leave you to Mexico or the commies.....The rest of us are sick of seeing federal tax dollars used to support your sanctuary city policies and hug-a-thug b.s., GET IT TOGETHER SOON, YOU'VE OVERTAKEN THE ELECTION WRECKERS IN FLORIDA FOR AMERICA'S MOST HATED STATE!


Good idea, yes! Great idea! The marijuana stores in my neighborhood are run by old-fashioned drug dealers. They are making an enormous amount of money, while the residents suffer the consequences, like increasing numbers of car accidents caused by stoned teenagers who got high in their shops. These pot dealers are like the BP of medical marijuana - they say they are only doing good, while they pollute our community and shift the expenses of cleaning up their mess to the rest of us. Good riddance drug dealers!

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