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Planning Commission OKs new rules for medical marijuana clinics

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New regulations would require most of the medical marijuana clinics in Los Angeles to close their doors if the LA City Council approves. The city Planning Commission approved the rule changes Thursday. 

An estimated 800 to 1,000 pot shops operated in Los Angeles. The Planning Commission forwarded the ordinance to the Los Angeles City Council for consideration; it would close dispensaries that opened after 2007.

The 182 clinics that opened before September 2007 and  filed the necessary papers with the city of L.A. could remain open if they follow a slate of restrictions. Those include operating at least 1,000 feet away from schools, prohibiting patients from using cannabis on the premises, and banning unaccompanied minors from entering. 

The proposal is the city’s latest effort to regulate medical marijuana clinics. During the summer, the Los Angeles City Council voted to close all storefront clinics, although legitimate patients would have been allowed to continue growing their own marijuana. But that ban never took effect. Opponents gathered enough signatures to qualify a referendum on the issue and the city council voted to repeal the ban.

Two groups are collecting signatures to qualify regulatory measures for the May 2013 ballot.  One proposal would allow an unlimited number of clinics to operate, as long as owners have registered with the city. A separate plan would allow the original 182 shops to remain open and would permit collectives of six patients. Each proposal requires 41,138 valid signatures by Dec. 7 to qualify. 

A represenatative for the L.A. City Attorney's Office told the Planning Commission that nobody knows how the proposed ordinance will affect those two campaigns. 

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