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Restrictions begin for Long Beach dispensaries

May 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Long Beach's new marijuana law went into effect Monday and dozens of dispensaries face new guidelines.The city of Long Beach says the ordinance is aimed at creating a safer environment for residents, even citing an incident where a man was shot outside of a collective in the city just two weeks ago.

However, collective owners and workers say that this new ordinance was not carefully thought out, amounting to an eviction process.

It's business as usual for the time being, but the new ordinance serves as a giant buzz kill for marijuana collectives in Long Beach.

"I think a lot of us aren't sleeping well. I think it's a lot of confusion of what's going on," said Matthew Abrams, a worker at One Evol, a marijuana collective in Long Beach.

The ordinance that went into effect Sunday requires the 80 or so collectives in Long Beach to have permits, but the biggest issue is that the ordinance forces the collectives to cultivate their own marijuana in the city of Long Beach. Most currently get their inventory from Northern California.

"It is going to be a very expensive ordinance. Just to grow it in the city is going to cost a $20,000 or $30,000 investment just to start the growing process," said Abrams.

Cristyl Meyers from the Los Angeles City Attorney's office says their interpretation of the state law is that it's already illegal for the collectives to transport marijuana from Northern California.

"There is absolutely no law which authorizes an entity or an individual to transport medical marijuana to a collective on behalf of a collective," said Myers. "That is illegal activity."

The city says that the ordinance poses a safety issue. However, some Long Beach residents and the collectives argue that being forced to grow marijuana onsite will only lead to greater safety concerns.

"There are real security concerns about placing it somewhere in the city where everyone is going to know exactly where it is," said Abrams.

"The city ordinance is pushing the marijuana right back, so you're going to have more street dealers and more places to go. There's going to be more kids getting a hold of it," said Long Beach resident Paul Gubany.

Collectives now won't be allowed within 1,000 feet of each other or within 1,000 feet of elementary and junior high schools. Security cameras need to be installed and marijuana cannot be smoked or ingested onsite and paraphernalia cannot be sold.

The city has allotted a 120-day grace period for the collectives to comply with the new ordinance.


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