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229 medical marijuana dispensaries make deadline for L.A.'s lottery to see which can stay open legally

February 24, 2011 |  6:03 pm

In hopes of becoming legal medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, 229 applicants filed by the Feb. 18 deadline to participate in a lottery that will select 100.

This is the city’s second attempt to find a way to separate legal from illegal dispensaries. The first relied on an expired ordinance and was ruled unconstitutional by a judge.

The city clerk’s office released the number of applicants Thursday but declined to provide any information on them. The city attorney’s office is deciding whether the information can be made public, noting that some dispensaries have threatened to sue to challenge the selection process.

The lottery is another small step in the city’s fraught attempts to reduce the number of dispensaries, which had exploded into the hundreds.

Holly L. Wolcott, the clerk’s executive officer, said it’s unclear when the lottery will be held. The office must first review the eight-page applications to determine whether the collectives meet the criteria to be included in the drawing.

Among other requirements, the collectives had to submit at least three documents proving they have been in business since Sept. 14, 2007, and must have at least one of the same operators since that time. City officials have said they believe that fewer than 135 collectives can meet the requirements.


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-- John Hoeffel