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Sensible Policies for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Los Angeles

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Publication Date: March 2007

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): Skaidra Smith-Heisters

Topic: Health (Licensing and regulation)

Type: Brief

Coverage: California


Medical marijuana dispensaries serve a critical purpose in the city of Los Angeles, providing a reliable means for qualified medical patients to obtain medical marijuana in accordance with California law. Dispensary regulation also creates a mechanism for local government oversight of medical marijuana cultivation and distribution. Though many aspects of medical marijuana dispensary regulation are the responsibility of the state government, zoning decisions and conditional use permitting processes governing the operation of the city's medical marijuana dispensaries are the purview of the City Council.

The following is offered as a framework to clarify the city's role in regulating medical marijuana dispensaries and proposes goals for the adoption of a city ordinance that ensures:
-Medical marijuana dispensaries are compatible with surrounding land use
-Operation of dispensaries does not create conditions for crime or other endangerment
-Rights and needs of medical marijuana patients are positively met.