Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Could Face Closure

The Bulldog Cafe Collective on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood is one of 16 dispensaries that council members intend to consider. More than 500 have applied for exemptions. (Photo: Luis Sinco)The Bulldog Cafe Collective on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood is one of 16 dispensaries that council members intend to consider. More than 500 have applied for exemptions. (Photo: Luis Sinco)With hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles operating in violation of a moratorium, the City Council will start the process of shutting some down Tuesday by voting on exemption requests filed by 16 dispensaries.

Most, if not all, of the requests probably will be denied because the dispensaries did not register with the city by the moratorium’s deadline in 2007. A denial would allow the city to take legal steps to force them to close.

The city allowed 186 dispensaries to stay open under the moratorium. But since then, 533 dispensaries have asked for exemptions after most opened without waiting for permission. That triggered concerns from neighborhood activists.

The first set of dispensaries targeted by the council were selected because council members believe they are “creating a negative impact on the community,” Councilman Ed Reyes said.

Reyes, who heads the committee that oversees the moratorium, promised this week to start reviewing the exemption applications. The council has ruled on none, which has hampered enforcement. The city attorney’s office says it would be hard to make a case that a dispensary should be shut down if it had an exemption request pending before the council.

“I’m pushing as hard as I can because I am really bothered that we are in this predicament,” Reyes said.

Stewart Richlin, a lawyer who filed one of the exemption applications, said the dispensaries simply followed the advice of city officials who informed them that filing an application would allow them to remain open.

“The City Council dropped the ball,” he said, noting that it still has not adopted a medical marijuana ordinance.

Since Tuesday, when Reyes announced that he would work through the applications, 25 more dispensaries have filed for exemptions. The council also will vote Tuesday on whether to stop allowing hardship exemptions.

The council will consider these dispensaries: Atwater Alternative Care Collective, LA Collective, Friendly Collective, Global Meds Collective and Accurate Services Medical Dispensary in Atwater Village; House of Kush, Hemp Factory V and American Eagle Collective in Eagle Rock; the Vapor Room in downtown L.A.; Green Leaf Collective in El Sereno; Bulldog Cafe Collective in Hollywood; New Age Wellness in Venice; Aloha Spirit Organic Consumables in Reseda; West Coast Holistic Institute in Canoga Park; The Grasshopper 215 in Woodland Hills; and Hope Collective in Winnetka.

– Article from The Los Angeles Times on June 6, 2009.



  1. Anonymous on

    What a tangled up mess!! I don’t believe the city of Los Angeles could’ve jumbled this up any worse (good going retards)! Shady judges accepting untaxed support money?!? I’m sure this is because the State is noticing all the money they could be making right now if they handled it correctly from the beginning. Now regarding the original 140+ original medical dispensaries that will be allowed to stay open…I will not be visiting any one of them! I remember reading an interview with an owner of one of the original 140 stores…talk about greedy a*hole with no “compassion & care” for patients!? “I’m happy they’re closing all these dispensaries, now I can sell weed at a higher price and get all the fallout customers from other stores with no worry of competition!”-is basically what he said. Great idea let’s put drugs back on the streets! Let’s encourage violence and criminal activity! Yay!

  2. Zach on

    Your absolutely right!!!!!! I had a medical card for PTSD, and back pain from being in the Marines, for four years before I finally gave up and just went back to buying it from a friend. When I first got into it, back in 2004, it seemed much more compassionate. I live in Santa Cruz, and the dispenceries here are anything but “compassionate”. They charge an arm and a leg, and their pot sucks. I just don’t trust them anymore. I smoke because it keeps me calm, and relaxes me after a mind numbing day at work. I hope one day in the future medical marijuana will be just like you pay a co-pay, and get your medicine. Something like that. Otherwise, its a joke.

    Not to mention that many patients after forking over almost 200 dollars for a medical visit, barely can afford the medicine. The card is only good for one year, and then you have to fork over another 200 dollars basically. I love the fact that I can get a card, but it really seems like its all about making money.

    So sad, so sad.

  3. Anonymous on

    …or choose not to acknowledge,is that the federal government has no authority to make pot illegal and that it’s only illegal because people let corrupt politicians and corporations get away with whatever they want.

  4. Frank B. Chavez III on

    What’s wrong with these city councils and their moratoriums? Don’t they understand that medical marijuana is legal in California? Can’t they read the damn law?

  5. Anonymous on

    Could we ask them to REGULATE the prices that these “Collectives” charge? When one examines the menu, it6 would appear that the owners of said dispensaries are more interested in taking the profits to the bank, rather than helping the patients acquire the medicine of their choice.

    The prices these people charge is absolutely ridiculous! I don’t want to deny anyone in business a chance to make a fair profit, but at these prices; It’s no better than buying it off the street! We’re paying the same prices (if not maybe a bit MORE) as if we were to buy off of street, in some cases: CHEAPER to buy off of street!? Whats up with that?