Ron Gilbert

LA County Officials Create Medical Marijuana Enforcement Team

Officials in Los Angeles County have voted to create a Medical Marijuana Enforcement Team to impose an existing dispensary ban in the unincorporated areas they govern, according to a City News Service report.

The 4-0 vote by the Board of Supervisors effects areas “that have not achieved cityhood,” such as Marina del Rey and East L.A. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (D) abstained from the vote to form the team.

Proposed by Supervisors Michael Antonovich (R) and Hilda Solis (D), the team will be tasked with “effectively and expeditiously clos[ing] down illegal medical marijuana dispensaries in the county’s unincorporated areas,” according to the proposal. It would include members from the Sheriff’s Department, County Counsel, Department of Regional Planning, District Attorney’s Office and Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office. The proposal calls for one full-time attorney on the team.

“A streamlined Medical Marijuana Dispensary Enforcement Team will speed up our effort to shut down and prosecute illegal marijuana dispensaries,” Antonovich said in a press release. “These illegal operations have routinely attracted a criminal element that threatens community safety and disrupts neighborhoods.”

Dispensaries in these areas have been outlawed since 2011 and the board has, so far, used zoning laws as an enforcement method.

The team will report back to the board in four months to detail their progress.

This is the second move this year aimed at the medical marijuana industry in the county’s unincorporated areas by the board. In January, members told county lawyers to draft an ordinance prohibiting cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, and laboratory testing for 45 days, allowing the county to study the impact.

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