LA’s Great Opportunity

With the recent swearing in of new City officials in Los Angeles, the City
Council is even more in favor of regulating storefront medical cannabis
dispensaries.  With the new City Attorney Carmen Trutanich supporting
Councilmember Dennis Zine’s motion to regulate dispensaries and the
addition of Paul Koretz (a co-sponsor of S.B. 420) to the City Council,
who questions the motives and impact of closing collectives and reinforces
statements made by his Council colleagues Bill Rosendahl and Janice Hahn,
the discussion is moving more toward fees and taxation and not cease and
desist.

While LA has the great opportunity to demonstrate nationally how effective
and enforceable regulations can bring quality of life to the patients,
benefit the community and create a much-needed revenue stream, some
advocates have accused the City of possibly draining funds due to
potential legal challenges from frustrated dispensary directors who claim
the hardship hearings are unfair and have no clear or consistent criteria,
to the City’s problematic attempt to amend the current moratorium by
striking the hardship clause as well as extending the two-year moratorium
beyond what is allowable under State law.  City officials are confident
that their methods of dealing with the ‘dispensary issue’ as a response to
their lack of enforcement are in-line.  However, some dispensary operators
claim to be damaged as a result inconsistent information from City staff
and a lack of interdepartmental communication with respect to the filing
of appropriate documents.

Los Angeles City officials are faced with a reported 900 dispensaries
requesting hardship exemptions under the moratorium.  Thus far, the
hardship requests heard have demonstrated the procedure by which the City
intends to enforce the moratorium.  The effort is applauded by concerned
neighbors and concerned medical cannabis patients alike.  However, there
is a small camp in City Hall as well as business-minded citizens that
recognize the missed revenue potential as well as the impact and expense
of closing a large number of businesses that may easily be brought into
full compliance.

The City will hear more hardship requests this week.  The City Attorney’s
office will provide a status report on permanent regulations soon.  Let’s
ensure LA seizes the opportunity to do this right.

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