Medical marijuana dispensaries will soon be permitted in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including Marina del Rey.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday, May 9th, to approve an ordinance establishing regulations and use and development standards for medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.
The regulations will take effect Friday, June 9th — 30 days after the ordinance approval.
Los Angeles County will join three other counties and 24 cities in the state by establishing guidelines and regulations governing medical marijuana dispensaries, according to Americans for Safe Access, considered the nation’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group.
“This is a victory for patients and a solid step towards countywide implementation of Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420, California’s medical cannabis laws,” said Amanda Brazel, Los Angeles County field coordinator for Americans for Safe Access. “Los Angeles County is leading the way now.
“This puts the nation’s most populous county ahead of the curve on medical cannabis.”
Medical marijuana dispensaries are any facility or location that distributes or provides medical marijuana to qualified patients or primary caregivers in accordance with the state Health and Safety code.
The Board of Supervisors approved the new law to regulate dispensaries in a manner that is safe and mitigates potential impacts on surrounding properties and people.
“(The supervisors) are trying to ensure that any dispensary that opens is in a part of the community that will be safe for everyone involved,” said David Sommers, press deputy for Supervisor Don Knabe.
Dispensaries are not to be located within 1,000 feet of each other or within 1,000 feet of “sensitive areas,” such as schools, playgrounds, parks, libraries, childcare facilities or places of religious worship, Sommers said.
Sommers said Knabe is supportive of the strong restrictions in establishing medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas. If the dispensaries are to be established, the supervisor wants to ensure that they open “as safely as possible,” Sommers said.
The Board of Supervisors also voted May 9th to require all dispensaries to obtain a full conditional use permit and that dispensary locations must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Americans for Safe Access officials said the requirement will result in a longer process for the dispensaries to obtain permits.
But some opponents of the new law have said it will still allow people to have easier access to the drug.
The supervisors have given tentative approval to a proposal for medical marijuana dispensaries to acquire a business license for a fee of $2,254 with an annual renewal fee of $203.
Tentative approval was also given to a program allowing patients to obtain a county-issued medical marijuana identification card.
Patients would pay a $100 application fee, or $50 for Medi-Cal recipients, for the identification card to prove to law enforce- ment officials that they are legally allowed to possess the drug.
However, Knabe said he is opposed to the identification card program because it has the potential for incidents of fraud, similar to what can happen with fake driver’s licenses.