Update: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
- Please share. Please respond personally if you are so inclined. The LVNA board has discussed this issue with great concern over the past couple of board meetings as has the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. The LVNA board meeting minutes will reflect our knowledge of locations of medical marijuana dispensaries in neighborhoods adjacent to the LVNA, as shared with us by Senior Lead Officer Joe Pelayo of the LAPD Olympic Division. We are all remaining vigilant but communication and advocacy are necessary now with the City Council.
Sent: Thu, Jun 18, 2009 7:12 am
Subject: Update: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Dear Neighbors --
This email?concerns the City's overdue?regulation of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, which has been allowed to escalate to a crisis. Please circulate this to your interested neighbors.?I provide excepts, including?the proposed passage that will govern MMD locations and?also some of the licensing and penalty passages, for your consideration. The full proposed text is attached. I close with Councilman Wesson's update, dated today.
Please provide your comments to our City Council. Among many other changes that the City should consider,?the City should debate whether to prohibit?MMD locations within a specified distance from single-family?and other residential zones, or houses?of worship. As you know, this City has historically failed to provide appropriate buffers between incompatible land uses. That said, MMD operators are very concerned that the location restrictions as written are overly broad.
PLANNING AND ZONING.
Excerpt from Proposed Land Use Provisions:
A Medical Marijuana Dispensary shall not be established or located within 1000 feet
of another permitted Medical Marijuana Dispensary, smoke shops which sell
paraphernalia for consuming drug or tobacco products, any school, daycare,
nursery, playground, park, library, or property zoned, planned, or otherwise
designated for such use, or any Sensitive Use.
LICENSING AND PENALTIES.
Excerpts from Proposed Licensing Provisions:
SEC. 46.60. PURPOSE AND INTENT.
The ordinance codified in this Article, in compliance with California Health and
Safety Code Sections 11362.5, et seq., does not interfere with a patient's right to
medical marijuana, nor does it criminalize the possession or cultivation of medical
marijuana by specifically defined classifications of persons, pursuant to state law.
Under state law, only qualified patients, persons with identification cards and primary
caregivers may cultivate medical marijuana collectively. Medical marijuana dispensaries
shall otherwise comply with all provisions of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, including
the zoning ordinance, and the California Health and Safety Code. Nothing in this
ordinance purports to permit activities that are otherwise illegal under state
"Sensitive Uses." Schools, public parks, libraries, public beach access points,
child-oriented establishments, or establishments that (i) advertise in a manner that
identifies the establishment as catering to or providing services primarily intended for
minors, or (ii) the individuals who regularly patronize, congregate or assemble at the
establishment are primarily minors. A "Sensitive Use" shall not include a daycare facility
or preschool facility that provides supervision of 12 or fewer minor children.
SEC. 46.72. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES
(a) Any Dispensary determined by the Los Angeles City Attorney or hislher
designee to have violated Section 46.71 shall be subject to the penalties of this section.
The Los Angeles City Attorney or hislher designee shall notify the Dispensary that there
has been an initial determination of violation under the provisions of this ordinance, and
shall specify the violation and the penalty imposed, including the effective date of the
suspension, if any. The notice shall further state that the Dispensary may, within 15
calendar days of receipt of the notice, submit to the Los Angeles City Attorney any
written or documentary evidence to contest the initial determination of violation. After
receiving and considering the evidence that is provided, the Los Angeles City Attorney
or hislher designee shall prepare a final written decision with findings, and shall serve
this final determination upon the Dispensary. Upon written request, the Dispensary
shall have the right to receive copies of any records upon which the final determination
is based. This final determination shall be served within 30 calendar days of the initial
(b) Administrative penalties shall be imposed as follows:
(1 ) for the first violation in any five-year period, the Dispensary shall
receive a letter of reprimand from the Los Angeles City Attorney
including a requirement to pay a penalty fee;
(2) for a second violation in any five-year period, the MMD Permit shall
be suspended for 90 calendar days and the Permittee shall be
required to pay a penalty fee;
(3) for a third or subsequent violation in any five-year period, the MMD
Permit shall be revoked and the Permittee shall be required to pay a
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, prior violations at a
location shall continue to be counted against a location and permit suspension periods
shall continue to apply to a location.
SEC. 46.75. EXISTING "MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES".
Any marijuana cultivation operation or dispensary, including any "Medical
Marijuana Dispensary," as that term is defined in lnterim Control Ordinance No.
179,027, not in compliance with the requirements of this Article shall have 1 year
from the operative date of this Article to obtain an MMD Permit, provided the
operation, dispensary or Medical Marijuana Dispensary was registered with the Los
Angeles City Clerk's office in accordance with the lnterim Control Ordinance No.
179,027 before November 12, 2007, proving it was operating prior to September 14,
Update from Councilman Herb Wesson
June 18, 2009
Neighborhood Council Leaders:
My office has received inquiries about my position on medical marijuana dispensaries (MMDs) so I thought I'd give you my position directly.? I am opposed to the unregulated and uncontrolled spread of MMDs throughout the city; and I want to not only stop the spread but also reduce the number of MMDs operating now.??
As you might have heard or read, the City Council has recently taken several steps to address the MMD issue.? I thought I'd give you an update on some of the recent developments on this topic.
"Hardship" Exemption Removed from the ICO.? Last week, my colleagues and I voted to remove the "hardship exemption" from the MMD Interim Control Ordinance (ICO).? While all ICOs include a hardship exemption provision for legal reasons, the City Attorney felt that the city can now legally defend removal of the provision from the MMD ICO as enough time has passed since the enactment of the ICO.? This would mean that at the effective date of the new ICO, the city would no longer be accepting "hardship" applications and no new MMD would be able to get around the ICO and open just by virtue of the fact that it filed a hardship application.? In addition, we voted to extend the revised ICO another six months.
Council Action on Pending MMD Applications.? Also last week, we finally started to go through the MMD hardship exemption applications submitted to the city.? There have been over 660 MMD hardship applications submitted citywide (throughout 15 Council Districts), 31 of which are in CD 10.? Attachment 1 is a list of CD 10 MMD facilities that have submitted hardship applications as of today.? Legally we have to take up - and afford a public hearing for - each application individually either through the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee or the full City Council.? So far, the full Council has taken up and denied 14 MMD hardship applications.?
My office has been asking PLUM to schedule CD 10's MMD hardship applications as soon as possible.? We have been informed that PLUM now plans to hold a special hearing on MMD hardship applications on June 29 and, so far, CD 10 has the most applications slated to be taken up that day.? We expect the final agenda of that hearing to be posted around June 24 or 25.? In the meantime, if you have information you'd like to share with my office about any of the locations in the list, please send them to Susan.Yi@... or my deputy assigned to your area.
Proposed MMD Ordinance.? Finally, PLUM has provided my office with the latest version of the proposed MMD ordinance, in the form of two documents.? I'm attaching those two documents for your review.? The first document (Attachment 2) addresses the land-use components of the proposed ordinance and the second document (Attachment 3) covers the remaining aspects of the proposed ordinance.? We expect PLUM to meld these two documents together to one ordinance, and amend it at least once (maybe more) before it would move to the full Council.
As an aside, one of the issues about the ordinance that has been raised with my office has been the MMD fee.? Some of you have recommended specific figures for the fee.? While those figures may ultimately be close to what the city would charge, the final amount would actually be based on a fee study.? That is because the city can only charge a fee of up to the cost of operating a program.? Charging a fee beyond the cost related to the program would make it a tax and, therefore, subject to a vote of the people.? Thus, to determine the actual MMD fee, the city would have to conduct a study to determine the program's cost.
My office is currently reviewing the proposed ordinance.? I encourage you to do the same.? I would be interested to hear your take on the proposal.? Again, please send your comments about the proposed ordinance to Susan Yi or your area deputy.? I would also encourage your Neighborhood Council to file your comments with the city in the form of a Community Impact Statement, thereby making your comments part of the official record of the ordinance.? DONE or my office can assist you in filing your statement.
Thank you for your commitment to our community and I look forward to your comments.??????
HERB J. WESSON, JR.
Councilmember, 10th District
(213) 473-7010 City Hall
(323) 733-8233 District Office
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