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For now, city of L.A. won't enforce ban on marijuana dispensaries

September 06, 2012|By Kate Linthicum

Los Angeles city officials say they will not enforce a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries that was due to go into effect Thursday, but they continued to contend that dispensaries are illegal.

In a letter posted on the city's website, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich said a recent ordinance banning pot shops will be suspended until election officials can verify the legitimacy of around 50,000 signatures submitted by dispensary supporters last week to qualify a ballot measure to overturn the ordinance.

If the signatures are certified and the referendum is approved by the Los Angeles City Council, the ban will be suspended until next March, when it would land on the primary election ballot.

Still, Trutanich opened the door for enforcement before then, saying pot shops are unpermitted and violate land-use laws.

"The business of medical marijuana continues to be an unpermitted land use in the city," he said, noting that a business tax registration certificate "does not constitute a license, permit, or land-use approval."

In the past, the city has sought to shut down some dispensaries for violating city land use laws. As of July, when the council passed the ban, there were 762 dispensaries registered with the city.

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