Voting 9-3, without debate, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new medical marijuana ordinance this morning. If it withstands legal challenges, it could force the closure of hundreds of dispensaries, and impose tough standards on those allowed to continue operating.
City officials say they believe more than 500 pot shops may be forced to close under the terms of the new ordinance. Hundreds of clinics opened in the past four years, while the council passed, and then failed to enforce, a moratorium on new cannabis outlets.
The ordinance approved today requires dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from sites such as schools, parks and libraries. And it also forbids a clinic from operating within 1000 feet of another pot shop.
Although the council approved the measure today, there's still more to be done before it goes into effect. The council must approve fees it will charge operators of the clinics - fees which are designed to pay for the cost of monitoring the cannabis clubs. And the ordinance will require the mayor's signature. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to sign it.
Below is a copy of the ordinance (you must have the latest version of Adobe Reader to view it).