New Marijuana Ordinance Could Have Disastrous Impact on Los Angeles

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Aaron Smith, MPP California policy director 707-575-9870 or 707-291-0076

New Marijuana Ordinance Could Have Disastrous Impact on Los Angeles

By Closing More Than 400 Medical Marijuana Dispensing Collectives, City Will Lose Countless Jobs and Tax Dollars, Force Some Patients Into Black Market

LOS ANGELES - Today, the City of Los Angeles is expected to begin enforcing an ordinance that could shut down more than 400 medical marijuana dispensing collectives within the city. Approved by the L.A. City Council, the ordinance will give collectives that opened prior to 2007 (about 130 of which remain) six months to comply with new regulations that will force many into new locations.

"This new ordinance is all but guaranteed to have a disastrous impact on Los Angeles," said Aaron Smith, California policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "By imposing zoning laws on medical marijuana collectives that are stricter than those for gun dealers, adult entertainment businesses, alcohol vendors, or pharmacies, the city is placing an undue burden on thousands of medical marijuana patients whose quality of life may depend on safe and reliable access to their medicine. There is no rational reason to impose stricter regulations on medical marijuana collectives than on liquor stores, which sell a substance that everyone knows is more harmful than marijuana and doesn't require a doctor's recommendation to purchase. With so many collectives being forced to close shop, many patients whose neighborhood dispensaries close will no doubt turn to the criminal market to obtain their medicine. That means sales taxes won't be paid on those transactions, it will be impossible to monitor the quality or origin of that marijuana, and the typical turf wars and crime associated with black markets will become more prevalent in surrounding communities.

"Even in terms of simple economics, closing these businesses makes entirely no sense," Smith continued. "Why, in the midst of a recession, in a city already plagued by economic stagnation, would anyone think it's a good idea to shutter more than 400 legitimate businesses that employ hundreds of residents and contribute millions in tax revenue? More empty storefronts are not the solution to L.A.'s financial woes."

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With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.

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