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LA Marijuana Dispensary Laws Challenged

As previously discussed, LA's top prosecutor Steve Cooley filed lawsuits to shut down what he claims are illegal marijuana dispensaries.

Now, the city is drawing its first legal challenge from an advocacy group.

Americans for Safe Access, organization that supports medical marijuana and works with dispensaries like Organica (recently sued by the city) and has filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, the L.A. Daily News reports.

The group is seeking a temporary restraining order against the city and their aggressive actions to shut down clinics not abiding by the law.

At issue is the short seven-day time frame the city gave the clinics to relocate once the ordinance takes effect.

As previously discussed, the new ordinance caps the number of medical marijuana clinics in the city at 70.

The lawsuit also alleges the ordinance's buffer zone severely limits where clinics may operate. It further claims that a provision banning dispensaries near homes rules out nearly all commercial areas.

The city is suing three collectives including Organica, a popular Venice-area outlet and is aiming to evict more than 18 others from their stores, saying they have violated state laws. It is seeking injunctions for them to stop selling marijuana.

Jeff Joseph, Organica's operator, was charged with 24 felonies, including selling, transporting and possessing marijuana. Joseph pleaded not guilty.

Steven Cooley and other prosecutors are taking a hard-line stance that state law authorizes the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes but not the sale of the drug.

Deputy City Attorney Bill Carter said he doesn't understand why the group is filing the suit now, since there is no law in effect.

The ordinance passed in January will not take effect until the council adopts fees the dispensaries must pay to operate.