Southern California breaking news and trends

Planning Commission OKs new rules for medical marijuana clinics

Medical Marijuana

Bear Guerra/KPCC

The Planning Commission approved an ordinance Thursday that would limit the number of medical marijuana clinics operating in Los Angeles.

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.

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Planning Commission rejects ban on major retailers in Chinatown

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

A proposal to ban major retailers, like Walmart, from opening up in Chinatown was rejected by the Planning Commission.

A proposal to ban major retailers in the Chinatown area was rejected today by members of the Planning Commission, who found city council members were trying to fix a problem that doesn’t yet exist.

Four months ago, Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes requested an interim control ordinance on big-box retailers, which would temporarily ban those businesses from opening up in a small part of his district. The move was prompted by news that Walmart planned to open a neighborhood store in a vacant building at Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues. The company received its final permit from Building and Safety one day before the ordinance was proposed.

Under the proposed ordinance, companies defined as “formula retail uses” would be prevented from opening up a store greater than 20,000 square feet in the area between the Harbor (110) Freeway, Alameda Street, Cesar Chavez Avenue and Cottage Home Street. Formula retailers are defined as having 11 or more stores and two of the following:

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