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Only 41 Pot Dispensaries Legal, City Insists

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The L.A. city attorney's office says it has done all its research on how many existing pot dispensaries are still legal under the new June ordinance, which allows 70 to exist, and found only 41. And instead of waiting to be sued over this conclusion, the city filed its own suit to prove it is legal for them to shut the rest down.

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Details from the Associated Press, via the Palm Springs Desert Sun:

The city attorney's office said it expects a slew of lawsuits in reaction and decided to file a countersuit asking a judge to determine that the city's strict process in interpreting the law was appropriate. The city said it won't seek to close any clinics before a court ruling.

"We're trying to be proactive," Jane Usher, a special assistant city attorney, told the Los Angeles Times. Usher said the small number of eligible dispensaries was "a surprise."

It was no surprise to anyone paying attention to the issue from inside the medical pot community; when I covered the story for a May Reason magazine cover story, many suspected, mostly because of the rule that dispensaries could not be across an alley from anything residential, even though so much of L.A's retail space is, that even fewer might end up legal.

As the L.A. Times reports, the targeted dispensaries are mad and many are already suing:

Yamileth Bolanos, who runs PureLife Alternative Wellness Center, found out that the city had determined her dispensary was not eligible to continue to operate. "I'm not going to take this lying down," she said. "This is ridiculous. They have screwed up one thing after another. Not once have they thought about the patients of Los Angeles."

Los Angeles is already tangling with about 85 dispensaries that have filed almost 30 lawsuits challenging the procedure the City Council adopted Jan. 26 to limit the number of dispensaries. Most of the dispensaries that have sued are among more than 400 ordered to shut down.

City of Angles has been on top of the medical pot in the southland story from last June til this July.

(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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