By Gary Walker
Mar Vista residents are taking to the streets in an effort to prevent a medical marijuana dispensary, a common sight in other Westside neighborhoods, from setting up shop in their backyard.
More than a dozen people convened Friday for a demonstration in front of the clinic’s prospective location — the highly visible intersection of Centinela Avenue and Palms Boulevard, which over the years has proved an unlucky spot for other small businesses to operate.
The corner storefront was most recently a flower shop and before that Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Food Market.
Demonstrators said they will return to the location on Fridays for the next several weeks.
More than 200 people attended an Oct. 15 community forum about clinic, with most in attendance speaking out against it.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, a Mar Vista resident, has pledged to do everything in his power to prevent the clinic from setting up shop.
“The message is pretty loud and clear: The city of Los Angeles, [my] council office and this community are opposed to this dispensary,” Bonin said.
Opponents claim the proposed location of the clinic violates provisions of Proposition D, a city ballot measure approved by voters earlier this year that put restrictions on the number of clinics that can operate in the city and where they can operate.
The ballot measure, however, does not appear to allow the city to take action against a clinic before it opens, city officials say.
The clinic proposal remains under investigation by the city, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said.
“I’ll be damned if I am gong to let this community be a test case for someone who wants to do damage to our neighborhood and violate the sprit of Proposition D,” Bonin said.
Would-be operators seeking permits for a medical marijuana clinic at 3472 S. Centinela Ave. could not be reached for this story.
“The protesters, who are all locals from Mar Vista, are hopeful that the business owner and the property owner will receive a clear message that this is … not the right location for a medical marijuana facility,” said dispensary opponent Steve Wallace.
“It’s a square peg and they are trying to place it in the round hole that many Mar Vistans voted for [in Proposition D],” Wallace said. “It just will not fit.”