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Long Beach Wants Guidelines for Pot Dispensaries


Long Beach is debating a very thin line of regulating and even prosecuting dispensaries and other businesses that provide medical marijuana. There is a clear signal being sent as City Council committee Monday recommended denying requests from 28 dispensaries for exemptions from a moratorium.

The Long Beach City Council spent two hours at last week's meeting trying to discern the pros and cons of regulations dispensaries but as of yet, have made no decision. The City of Los Angeles last week was hit with a lawsuit based on a moratorium of over-the-counter medical marijuana sales. What is known is Long Beach wants guidelines for pot dispensarie

An estimated 39 businesses, including medical marijuana dispensaries and suspected illegal “pot shops,” operate in the city, including five that opened over the last week, according to Long Beach City Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga, who proposed the new rules.

“All I’m asking for right now are simple, loose guidelines and a cost-benefit analysis of their impacts on city services” Uranga said in an interview. “We’re not yet at the point where we can ask for a moratorium on a type of business that technically does not even exist in Long Beach.” She continued, “We really need to know how many we have and where they are at,” she said. “One of the newest medical marijuana dispensaries opened up next to a city library.”

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At the Aug. 4 City Council meeting, Councilwomen Suja Lowenthal introduced and the council passed a motion for regulating medical marijuana collectives, also know as dispensaries, that the collectives give the city "a list of the primary caregivers and qualified patients that belong to the collective."

Several collective managers and members at the Aug. 4 City Council meeting who favored medical marijuana regulations believe that giving the city a list of primary caregivers and patients was unacceptable. "I have a problem with it. It's a violation of confidentiality," said Katherine Aldrich, founder of The 562 Collective "I'd like to know if you would do the same thing at CVS or Rite Aid? Would (you) ask them to turn over their lists of patients and what medications they are receiving?"

Long Beach wants guidelines for pot dispensaries so other items in the medical marijuana proposal include legal definitions of collectives; zoning criteria for the location and size of collectives within residential-zoned area; the ability to prohibit any collective from being within 1,000 foot radius of schools, parks, licensed child care facilities or other collectives and an appropriate fee payable to the city prior to the dispensary receiving a permit.

Materials from Los Angeles Time and Signal Tribune Newspaper are used in this report.

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
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