Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Patients’ Union Proposes Replacement Ordinances

As the Los Angeles City Council gears up to decide whether to repeal the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, members of a local patients’ union are offering up alternatives. shakinghands1.jpg

Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers understand that the Union for Medical Cannabis Patients has plans to present city leaders with a draft of two potential ordinances, in the hopes that one will be selected as a means for regulation without harmful restrictions.

The goal, the union says, is to avoid having the measure overturned by the courts or popular vote – which may happen if the council refuses to take action to withdraw the ordinance it adopted in July, banning all storefront medical marijuana facilities.

The first option is one called the “Preemptive Proof Ordinance.” This would be applied as an amendment to Section 1, Article 5.1 of Chapter IV of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. With the hope of proposing a measure that will avoid being targeted by further litigation, this measure is based on the treatment of lawfully operating marijuana dispensaries, as defined in People v. Colvin by the U.S. Appellate Court for the 2nd District earlier this year. It aims to balance the interests of legitimate patients with those legitimately-operating dispensaries as well as the concerns of the local residents and city officials.

This ordinance would prohibit the following actions by marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles:

  • To operate in Los Angeles when the dispensary is part of a State Compliant Association;
  • To operate a dispensary while failing to verify that each member is a California resident with a valid doctor prescription, ensuring that only qualified patients are registered members or maintaining proper records;
  • To make a profit that is used for anything other than: rent, mortgages, property taxes, insurance, sales or income taxes, equipment, maintenance, repair, security, accounting, cultivation, tracking, salaries, legitimate travel expenses, subsidized patient counseling, legal defense, local charities, research and education;
  • To fail to refund excess cash to members;
  • To fail to maintain proper tax records;
  • To display marijuana in the window;
  • To allow entry by a minor without an accompanied parent or legal guardian;
  • To operate between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • To sell alcohol;
  • To allow marijuana to be consumed in a manner visible from the exterior;
  • To illuminate its operation after-hour with lighting not necessary for security;
  • To allow a manager to operate the facility who has prior felony convictions (annual background checks would be conducted);
  • To operate within a 1,000-foot radius of a “sensitive use location,” such as a school or church;
  • To fail to maintain standard building codes;
  • To fail to have adequate nighttime security;
  • To fail to allow LAPD officials on premises at any time;
  • To have more than 100 members, unless the services of a mental health professional are also employed.

The other ordinance, called the State Compliance Ordinance, is much the same, except it would require all medical marijuana dispensaries to register with the city, maintain state compliant, pay appropriate taxes and city fees.

It’s laudable that these advocates are taking measures to self-regulate. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this from within the industry. Of course, it would have been more beneficial had the city chosen to adopt such measures several years ago.

It remains unclear whether such efforts will be adopted now, as it’s likely city leaders will want to wait for more clarification from state courts and legislators.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Union for Medical Cannabis Patients Presents Los Angeles City Council with Two Ordinances, Sept. 27, 2012, Union of Medical Marijuana Patients Press Release
More Blog Entries:
L.A. Marijuana Ban is Formally Suspended, Sept. 6, 2012, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyers Blog