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

June 7, 2010 |  8:07 am

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