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Pot dispensaries' operators given six more months to comply with L.A. ordinance

November 17, 2010 |  5:20 pm

Medical marijuana dispensaries approved to operate in Los Angeles will get six more months to comply with the city’s ordinance, the City Council decided Wednesday.

The council made a few changes in the ordinance that drew little debate and were greeted with relief by dispensary operators and advocates for medical marijuana patients.

“I think what we have before us today is a good ordinance that finally deals with a lot of the issues that we’ve grappled with over the years,” said Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

Dispensaries approved by the city were supposed to adhere by Dec. 4 to such provisions as being located more than 1,000 feet from schools, parks and other so-called sensitive sites.

But more than five months after the ordinance went into effect, the city has still not approved any dispensaries. That process snagged on a provision that required dispensaries to have the same managers as they did three years ago when they registered with the city clerk. Many have since changed managers or added new ones as their business has increased.
On Wednesday, the council eliminated that controversial requirement, which had disqualified some of the city’s most reputable medical marijuana stores, and replaced it with a provision meant to ensure that at least one of the original owners is still involved in running the dispensary.

“We support this amendment. It’s going to be one of many amendments to fix this ordinance,” said Degé Coutee, who runs the Patient Advocacy Network. “I hope that you will just continue to work with us. We’ll plug through this ordinance.”

-- John Hoeffel