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LA grapples again with pot shops

The exterior of the La Brea Collective medical marijuana dispensary is seen in Los Angeles Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009.
The exterior of the La Brea Collective medical marijuana dispensary is seen in Los Angeles Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

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For the third week in a row, the Los Angeles City Council will attempt to pass a new ordinance that regulates medical marijuana dispensaries.

The council tentatively has agreed to allow cash exchanges for pot, but calls them contributions for "actual expenses" rather than sales. The city plans to set up an auditing system to determine actual expenses.

Among the proposals the council has yet to decide: placing a cap on the number of dispensaries in the city.

“This is what Angelinos care most about," said Council President Eric Garcetti. "It's certainly is what I’ve heard most about [from] my constituents when there’s been complaints."

Last week, Garcetti suggested that the city could allow as many as 200 dispensaries. Up to 900 operate in L.A. now.

Councilman Jose Huizar said the limit should be 70 "to prevent the over-concentration of these facilities in any particular part of the city."

He noted current proposals would restrict dispensaries to commercial and industrial areas. Pot shops couldn't operate near schools, churches and parks, or abut residential areas.

One medical marijuana activist argues that L.A. needs upwards of 400 to serve the estimated tens of thousands of people in the city with doctors’ recommendations for medical marijuana.