Marijuana Dispensaries Sue the City


A collective of L.A.-based medical marijuana dispensaries are suing the city, claiming that the current moratorium on such businesses is "unreasonable, discriminatory and overly broad."

Details from the Los Angeles Times account:

The lawsuit, filed late Monday, is the first to take aim at the city's attempts to halt the explosive growth in dispensaries.....Representatives from the city attorney's office, the district attorney's office and the Police Department reiterated to the committee their contention that over-the-counter sales of medical marijuana are illegal under state law.....

The lawsuit, filed by the Los Angeles Collective Assn. and the Green Oasis dispensary...accuses the City Council of failing to follow required procedures when it extended the ban. In addition, it claims that the council is precluded by state law from extending the moratorium beyond 24 months.....

The city has been lately closing down dispensaries, and rejecting applications for excemptions to allow them to continue operating.

The press release from the Los Angeles Collective Association (LACA), announcing the suit. The heart of their complaint says they are:

seeking a temporary restraining and an injunction against the city, precluding it from closing the stores and fining and arresting their owners and landlords based on an expired Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) originally passed on August 1, 2007. The ICO essentially banned the establishment or operation of these medical marijuana businesses as of that date. LACA contends its members provide a necessary and valuable service, approved of by the state with appropriate health and safety regulations.

While the original ordinance provided for hardship exemptions, none have been granted, and the exemption was recently eliminated by a new ICO. Instead, the dispensary operators and their landlords face prosecution over a tangle of regulations that threaten their businesses. They now confront the prospect of severe fines and/or jail time for violations of municipal and building codes. Many are also receiving eviction notices from landlords under pressure from the city.

California's Fourth Appellete District Court is hearing today a similar lawsuit against the city of Anaheim's ban on medical pot dispensaries. The pro-medical pot group Americans for Safe Access has a list of California localities with moratoriums or bans on dispensaries.

Past City of Angles blogging on the city's medical marijuana dispensary moratorium.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)