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L.A. asks appeals court to allow enforcement of medical marijuana law

March 9, 2011 |  9:27 pm

Los Angeles asked the state Court of Appeal on Wednesday to halt an injunction that bars the city from enforcing key parts of its medical marijuana ordinance.

The order, issued by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, forced the City Council to rewrite sections of its law, including the process for determining which dispensaries will be allowed.

The city now plans to use a lottery to select 100 dispensaries, but it is seeking to defend the original method, saying it was “the result of months of careful legislative consideration and debate.”

COMPLETE LIST: Dispensaries that have applied for lottery or were ordered to close

The first ordinance capped the number of dispensaries at 70, but made an exception to allow for all the dispensaries that registered under the city’s 2007 moratorium and remained open. City officials have estimated that about 135 of the 182 registrants are still in business.

Mohr’s decision also forced the council to remove the criminal penalties from the ordinance. “Without criminal remedies, the city will find it difficult if not impossible to obtain compliance with the restrictions of the ordinance,” the appeal states.

The injunction, which stemmed from hearings on 45 lawsuits that challenged the ordinance, is not currently in effect. Mohr stayed his own order pending his decision on how the dispensaries that sought the injunction should pay for a nearly $350,000 bond.

The city’s filing also notes that at least two Superior Court judges have upheld the ordinance in allowing criminal prosecutions to proceed and concludes, “This situation created by inconsistent rulings creates confusion and disregard for the law.”

RELATED:

L.A. City Council votes to amend medical marijuana ordinance

L.A. releases list of medical marijuana dispensaries vying for chance to operate

L.A. officials release list of 141 medical marijuana dispensaries ordered to close immediately

-- John Hoeffel

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