Two local cannabis operators have filed a lawsuit against the city over amendments to the city’s cannabis ordinance allowing more than one dispensary per council district.
In 2018, 63% of voters approved Measure CC, which allows a maximum of six dispensaries, one per district, and requires each shop to maintain a distance from other dispensaries as well as from churches, schools, libraries and parks.
But on Nov. 1 after several failed attempts, the City Council voted 5-3 to amend the ordinance and place more dispensaries in District 3, which is represented by John Kennedy.
The new regulations decrease the required distance between retailers from 1,000 feet to 450 feet.
Kennedy, along with Felicia Williams and Gene Masuda, opposed the amendments and said he believed the council was acting against the will of the voters, which is what the lawsuit also claims.
According to the lawsuit filed by lawyers representing Integral Associates and Harvest of Pasadena by approving the Zoning code amendment; the City’s unlimited and carte blanche grant to itself of the right to amend Measure CC is an unconstitutional usurpation of the people’s initiative power by the City; and (3) the express language of ballot Measure CC approved by the voters directly conflicts with the City’s grant of unlimited amending power to itself.
“The zoning code amendment is in flagrant disregard of the will and intent of the voters who passed Measure CC. Measure CC repealed the City’s ban on commercial cannabis activity. It also limited the number of commercial cannabis businesses to six retailers. Furthermore, Measure CC only allowed one dispensary per council district, and required a minimum of 1,000 feet between cannabis retailers. The zoning code amendment alters the substantive provisions of Measure CC, an initiative ordinance approved by the voters.”
But councilmembers supporting the ordinance claimed the opposite during the vote and stated they were doing the bidding of the voters, despite the overwhelming vote by local residents to allow only one dispensary per council district.
Published: December 20, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News