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LA Sues to Shutter Marijuana Business

Attorneys for the City of Los Angeles filed a lawsuit in February seeking to close a cannabis delivery service that opened in 2014.

dispensary signThe city attorney’s office announced the suit Feb. 19, saying it’s part of a long-running effort to limit the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the city. In 2013, voters passed Proposition D, a law designed to close hundreds of shops officials said were violating state and local law.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said the suit targets Cosmic Mind, a company that does business as Speed Weed. The corporation has ignored the rules imposed by Proposition D, Feuer said in a press release.

“Marijuana delivery services circumvent the will of the voters who passed Proposition D,” Feuer said. “My office will continue to ensure that only qualified patients, and primary caregivers, can transport medical marijuana.”

Proposition D led to closure of 135 L.A. stores

Proposition D passed with strong support in May 2013. The law set a limit of 135 stores throughout the city. Only shops that opened by September 2007 were allowed to stay. Following the vote, city officials shuttered hundreds of illegal dispensaries across Los Angeles.

The city also requires that those shops “continue to meet other requirements and operational standards.” Opponents of the initiative complain that the law has made it much harder for patients to buy their medicine without traveling long distances.

In their lawsuit, prosecutors said Speed Weed operates “a sophisticated and wide-ranging marijuana distribution and delivery service” that has been in business for 17 months. The service allegedly took orders by Internet and phone and then delivered cannabis from at least seven distribution sites in the greater Los Angeles area.

The company advertises its delivery service as “just like pizza,” with “medical marijuana delivered quickly, safely, legally.” Products include Presidential OG, Diablo OG, and Kiva Espresso Dark Chocolate CBD bar.

City attorney: Speed Weed violates Proposition D

jars of weed dispensaryFeuer said Proposition D prohibits delivery services that ship, deliver, or distribute medical cannabis. The lawsuit asks for an injunction barring Speed Weed from doing business, with “cessation of any delivery of marijuana by the company and individual defendants anywhere in the city.”

The suit names the business and three individual defendants with ties to Speed Weed: corporate officers Andrew Gentile and Jennifer Costa, along with Eugene Gentile, whose relationship to Speed Weed isn’t explained in the court filings.

In addition to an injunction, the city is seeking civil fines of up to $5,000 every day Speed Weed remains in violation of Proposition D. No criminal charges have been filed.

Proposition D has dramatically changed the face of medical cannabis in Los Angeles. With hundreds of shops gone, the few legal businesses that remain have raised prices in some cases because of increased demand.

Officials across California are engaged in a concerted effort to make life more difficult for the medicinal marijuana industry and the patients who use it. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed legislation imposing new rules on the industry, though even many cannabis insiders supported the bill.

Unfortunately, a mistake in the new law led hundreds of communities across the state to ban dispensaries and cultivation. The legislature has passed a bill to fix the error, but most of the bans remain in place.

What do you think about the city’s approach to medical marijuana dispensaries? Post a comment below.

About Matt Brooks

Based in San Francisco, Matt is a journalist who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than five years. He provides regular news coverage on marijuanaandthelaw.com and californiamarijuanamarket.com.

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