L.A. City Council discusses pot shops challenges to ban
City News Service | 7/31/2013, 2:49 p.m.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Los Angeles City Council went behind closed doors today to discuss threats of legal action by two medical marijuana dispensary operators who contend they should be allowed to remain open despite voters’ passage of Proposition D, which pared back the number of pot purveyors allowed in the city.
Voters approved Proposition D on May 21, banning medical marijuana businesses in Los Angeles except for those that registered for licenses prior to a 2007 suspension on new dispensaries. The proposition went into effect June 20.
The city has released a list of 134 dispensaries believed to meet the criteria under Proposition D.
Last month, the City Attorney’s Office sent 1,716 letters notifying landlords and owners of “medical marijuana businesses” of the ban, said City Attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox.
During its meeting today, the City Council discussed but did not take action on a threat of litigation from attorney Arthur Hodge, who represents the Downtown Patients Group Dispensary and the Timothy Leary Memorial Dispensary in North Hollywood — two businesses not included on the city’s list of 134 shops that might be exempted from the ban.
In a July 11 email to the city, Hodge stated his clients received notification letters “asserting they are not entitled to the immunity,” but under his “reading of Prop D, they qualify ... and the letters are in error.”
“Please advise, as we have no choice but to bring fresh Petitions for Writ of Mandate for these collectives if we cannot come to terms on them,” he continued.
Hodge prodded the city again on July 17 after not receiving a response to his previous email.
Another attorney, David Welch, said he believes there are as many as 40 additional businesses eligible for exemptions to the Proposition D ban. He said he represents 15 businesses that were overlooked for inclusion on the city’s list and that he has sent letters on their behalf urging reconsideration.
Welch previously worked on behalf of Ordinance F, a competing medical marijuana measure that would have set regulations for dispensaries but would not have restricted the number.