Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

April 29, 2010
Message to cities from L.A. pot shop fight: Expect lawsuits

As Sacramento and other California cities look to roll back the number of marijuana dispensaries flowering in their midst, they insist they don't want to become the next Los Angeles.

Now L.A.'s fight to drive hundreds of pot shops out of town is serving up a cautionary tale of what is in store for other cities just hoping to get a few dozen to go away.

If L.A.'s battles are any key, expect lawsuits - and more lawsuits.

In two suits filed last week, attorneys for 21 Los Angeles dispensaries challenged the city's attempt to disallow any pot shop that didn't register with the city in 2007.

One lawsuit charged that the city "arbitrarily and capriciously provided certain medical marijuana collectives the ability to regulate and operate...while precluding other similarly situated collectives."

Attorney David Welch asserted that Los Angeles' dispensary ordinance violated the state constitution by depriving medical pot establishments of due process and equal protection under the law. The office of L.A. City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich asserted that the city's new pot law will withstand the challenge.

In March, several medical pot outlets that opened in 2007 sued the city. Even though they were allowed as registered dispensaries, the clubs claimed they will have to move or close due to strict rules imposed by the city.

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