The Long Beach City Council voted last night to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in the city, but allowed clubs that won the city's controversial marijuana lottery to remain open for four months. The clubs that were exempted from the ban belong to the Long Beach Collective Assocation, (LBCA) and include 18 dispensaries that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on city permitting fees. As of now, all other clubs operating within city limits that failed to win the lottery or which never participated (and which haven't already been shut down) now face the immediate possibility of being raided by city police and code enforcement officers.
In recent weeks, LBCA has mounted a public relations campaign to pressure the city not to abandon its medical marijuana ordinance, major portions of which have been ruled illegal in a case involving patients whose clubs were shut down by the city that is now before the California Supreme Court.
Although the ostensible reason for allowing the exempted clubs to continue operating for four months is to allow for the Supreme Court to issue its ruling, such clarity isn't likely to arrive in less than a year, although the city will always have the option of extending its exemption. Until now, the city has only occasionally raided various clubs that lost the lottery or which refused for financial or ideological reasons to pay the hefty $15,000 application fee, and no raids have been carried out since the city's ordinance was ruled illegal late last year. But now that the city has a ban on the books, the raids are likely to pick up speed.
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