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More than 170 medical marijuana dispensaries notify Los Angeles of intent to stay open

June 23, 2010 | 11:16 am

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Representatives of 174 medical marijuana dispensaries have filed notices with the Los Angeles city clerk, indicating that they intend to remain open. City officials now face the daunting task of determining whether those stores qualify to operate under the new ordinance.

The stores are among 187 that registered in 2007 to continue to operate when the City Council adopted a moratorium. (City officials have long said the number of registered dispensaries is 186 but recently concluded one was inadvertently left off the list.)

All other dispensaries in the city were required to stop selling marijuana June 7, when the ordinance became effective.

City officials estimate there are about 400 illegal dispensaries. Many, however, have sued the city to challenge the ordinance and some have remained open in defiance of the law.

Los Angeles officials are reviewing the documentation to ensure that the stores still have their original owners, have operated continuously and have moved no more than once. In their initial check, city officials determined that 79 met those requirements and planned to scrutinize the others. Control of seven dispensaries is in dispute, with competing groups claiming to operate them.

It’s unclear when the city clerk will complete its review. “We had a new hiccup,” said Holly L. Wolcott, the executive officer for the city clerk. City officials realized that they failed to collect information on the current management of the dispensaries, as required by the city’s ordinance, and now have to contact the dispensaries to collect that information.

-- John Hoeffel

See a map of businesses mailed a closure notice: Map: Marijuana dispensaries told to close

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