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Los Angeles plans marijuana clinic purge

Los Angeles plans marijuana clinic purge
"Sativa Steve" shows off one of dozens of varieties of pot in a medicinal cannabis shop in San Francisco on June 7, 2005. (UPI Photo/Terry Schmitt) | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, June 10 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles City Council launched a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries after learning the number has tripled since a 2007 moratorium.

The city now has at least 600 dispensaries, up from 186 in 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported. The new dispensaries have been exploiting a part of the law that allow them to remain open while appealing for hardship exemptions.

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"We know that time is passing. We'll close the loopholes, plug these floodgates," Councilman Ed Reyes said Tuesday.

The council voted Tuesday to stop accepting new hardship applications on top of the backlog of about 550. It also rejected applications from about 12 dispensaries.

A new draft ordinance includes a provision that would require dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, playgrounds and other places with large numbers of children.

Some owners feel whipsawed. Edward Hovnanyan of L.A. Collective, which is across the street from a library, said he worked closely with local officials.

"I spent so much money, so much time, now I'm facing maybe being shut down," he said. "If something's wrong, something's not right, why did government not stop me?"

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