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A man walks past a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, CA on November 2, 2010. Although voters rejected Prop 19, marijuana will still be legal for medical users.
This week, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office sent letters to 140 medical marijuana dispensaries ordering their immediate shutdown because they violate a new ordinance.
On Pico Boulevard in Mid-Wilshire there's a medical marijuana dispensary almost every other block. Some are full-fledged store fronts with elaborate signs. Others are marked by nothing more than a green door. Many of them are listed among 140 dispensaries in danger of being shut down under a new law.
“We are going to do everything we can within the parameter of the law to close down the places that are operating illegally,” says Asha Greenberg, assistant city attorney for Los Angeles.
Greenberg says the ordinance the City Council passed earlier this year asked all dispensaries to sign up for a lottery to stay open. Only the clinics that operated before September 2007 would qualify. Those that missed that cut off or failed to register would be considered illegal and should expect the city to take action soon.
“The next step would be for us to get the evidence that they are still operating," Greenberg explains. "And file lawsuits against the property owners and business owners where these locations are.”
Several dispensary owners refused to go on record for fear of angering city officials. But several told KPCC off-the-record that they weren’t worried about being forced to close shop. A previous ordinance last year tried to cut the number of dispensaries. It failed when a judge ruled it unconstitutional.
View Map of 141 dispensaries ordered to shut down in a full screen map