Update: Los Angeles Approves Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, But 182 Could Remain Open

Los Angeles council members overwhelmingly approved a ban on medical cannabis dispensaries today, a move that will lead to the closure of all or most of the estimated 900-1,000 marijuana centers currently operating in the city.

In a 13-1 vote favoring the ban, city leaders expressed their concern that the area’s unregulated medical marijuana industry has grown out of control. The council must vote on the ban again next week because the initial decision wasn’t unanimous, but in this case it’s more of a formality. Once officially approved and signed by the mayor (who supports the ban), dispensaries would likely be given a few weeks or months to shut down.

The development will shake the nation’s MMJ industry at its very core. Los Angeles is the biggest medical marijuana market in the country, employing more than 10,000 dispensary workers, growers, lawyers and others who work at businesses involved in cannabis. The ban will cause a significant contraction in the industry and decimate the MMJ industry in California.

On the bright side, there might not be a complete ban on storefront operations: City officials also advanced a measure that could allow as many as 182 dispensaries that opened before 2007 to continue operating under a new regulatory structure.

And the overall impact will be blunted by the fact that a fair share of the dispensaries currently operating in Los Angeles are questionable at best. Some are violating state laws and selling out the back door, while others are engaging in shady business practices. They have created a stain on the entire industry, and their closure is necessary for the health of MMJ in the long run.

Medical marijuana groups vowed to fight the city council’s decision.

“This is an outrage that the city council would think a reasonable solution to the distribution of medical marijuana would be to simply outlaw it altogether,” Don Duncan, California director of MMJ advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said in a press release. “The tens of thousands of patients harmed by this vote will not take it sitting down. We will campaign forcefully to overturn this poor decision by the council.”

3 comments on “Update: Los Angeles Approves Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, But 182 Could Remain Open
  1. Jonathan on

    REgulation goes with out saying that you need to control the illegal operations of the few to support the legal operation of the many. This decision not only hurts the patients but also the industry as a whole. The loss of tax revenue, the labor market, and other supporting industries is going to suffer not to mentino the state loses the oportunity to suppoer tax growth and higher employment numbers. With the economy taking its toll on states revenues across the country, it would make sence to look at the larger long term effects of this decision rather then the short term goals. Short minded individuals that vote against the people that placed them in the decision arena will also soon feel that wrath when voters heat back to the polls.

    Reply
  2. KC on

    Good article. It’s a sad day for all the patients and owners in Cali.

    It should be taken as a warning to all of our MMJ friends in Colorado.

    If you are a caregiver, a center owner or a patient – don’t’ drink the Kool-Aid.

    Amendment 64 (regulate like alcohol) has the potential to have the exact same effect in Colorado. We don’t need a genie in a lamp to tell us the future, look at California.

    Action produces reaction. The feds, the courts, and the majority of city councils across America are not ready for full legalization (yet.)

    I respect Brian and have spoken with him on several occasions. BUT – many industry leaders in Colorado fear that Amendment 64 will simply lead the feds and local authorities to shut down ALL MMJ (recreational and medical) in Colorado.

    How much does it take to shut down a medical marijuana center?

    44 cents. Yep, just one letter from an AG, a DA or local authority and everything these Americans have built can be taken overnight (last time they gave us 45 days, how nice.)

    I support decriminalization, I support medical marijuana, but the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” efforts in Colorado may produce a legislative victory (yea, we won!) – only to lead to a total banning across the State overnight (oh shite, we’re out of business.)

    >>Vicente feels that “in Denver and many communities around Colorado, medical marijuana businesses have become ingrained parts of the community. They’re paying taxes and providing medicine for sick patients. And I think there’s a degree of political and business savvy that business owners in Colorado have shown that business owners in L.A. maybe didn’t show — and hopefully, that can lead to their long-term survival.”<<

    Really? How much more ingrained can one be?

    How much more savvy?

    850 hard-working family-owned centers in Cali may be forced to close within 40 day. Just like that.

    Cali was ingrained. Cali was savvy.

    With one simple vote from a city council – and an industry that stood for over 10 years came crashing down.

    Medical Marijuana in Colorado has boomed since 2009. It is still growing and needs time to mature (most of us are still waiting for licenses to hang on our walls.)

    Brian, I respect you. I support legalization (but not now.)

    Supporting Amendment 64 may lead to a total collapse of what has just begun to mature in Colorado.

    Support decriminalization. Support medical marijuana. Support patients access. Vote 'no' on Amendment 64.

    Reply
  3. sharon day on

    So now 10,000 ppl will hit the unemployment lines!!! What do these ppl have for brains? These are good jobs! These are ppl helping the ppl that this Gov. have a their kill list, the sick!!!! PPl you all need to WAKE UP HERE!!! This Gov. wants you poor and without a job!! They want you so helpless you feel your only hope is them!!! This is OUR Country not THEIRS!!! We elect them and it is time we STOP just checking those boxes without KNOWING what these idiots stand for!!!

    Reply

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