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City Council Likely to Extend Marijuana Dispensary Moratorium

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As the federal policing agencies back off from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in California, the Los Angeles City Council today will vote to extend a 2007 moratorium banning new herb storefronts until a they come up with a plan that will better regulate them. From today's council agenda (.pdf):

RESOLVE to EXTEND the provisions of Ordinance No. 179027 imposing temporary interim regulations prohibiting any person or entity from establishing a Medical Marijuana Dispensary, and prohibiting any person or entity from operating a Medical Marijuana Dispensary, for a second and final six-month period ending on September 14, 2009, inasmuch as the appropriate City agencies and officials are exercising due diligence and actively working towards the adoption of the appropriate land use regulatory controls.

Back when the moratorium was approved, Councilman Dennis Zine said the “goal is to bring the sale of medicinal marijuana under control and regulated by a City entity so that distribution is safe and accessible to people that truly need medicinal cannabis to improve their quality of life. The purpose of this interim ordinance is to protect not only the right of patients to access the medications that they need, but also to rid the current distribution facilities of abuses that harm the areas surrounding the dispensary sites.”

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Furthermore, today's resolution (.pdf) mentions how over zealous marketing and relaxed attitudes around schools was one of the issues that brought this to the city's attention.

The Los Angeles Police Department has received complaints from neighbors, business owners, and concerned citizens regarding the negative impacts of dispensaries, including flyers, leaflets and stickers advertising dispensaries being placed on school grounds; smoking marijuana outdoors within 1,000 feet from schools; operating near sensitive uses, and constant activity around dispensaries at all hours.

The original 2007 moratorium was easily passed and is likely to be approved today.