Pot clinics challenge L.A. limits in lawsuit
March 01, 2010
Rick Orlov, Los Angeles Daily NewsA state organization representing medical marijuana dispensaries filed suit Tuesday challenging a new Los Angeles law that restricts where the clinics can operate. Americans for Safe Access filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking a temporary restraining order against the city, which has launched an aggressive effort to close down clinics that violate the law.
The city measure, adopted in January, seeks to impose a cap of 70 clinics in Los Angeles while prohibiting any from opening within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and other sensitive-use areas.
"The ... ordinance severely restricts access to medical marijuana by effectively forcing (operators), as well as the vast majority of medical marijuana collectives in the city, to close their doors," the suit said.
The group maintains the ordinance will deny patients access to medical marijuana.
At issue is the seven-day time frame the city gave the clinics to relocate once the ordinance takes effect as well as how severe the ordinance is in limiting operations of the clinics.
The City Council passed the law after a moratorium on clinics was basically ignored and hundreds of clinics opened around Los Angeles.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich filed suit in mid-February against three clinics and sent letters to 18 others warning them they were in violation of the law.
"We don't understand why they are filing the suit now, since there is no law in effect," Deputy City Attorney Bill Carter said. "We think our law will be upheld by the courts.
"In the meantime, we will continue to enforce the state and local laws with the marijuana clinics," Carter said.