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Nestdrop cannot deliver pot in L.A.; firm to take app to other cities

A judge says Nestdrop, a medical marijuana delivery smartphone app, must stop delivering pot

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge said Tuesday that Nestdrop, a medical marijuana delivery smartphone app, must stop delivering pot.

Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer filed a court complaint earlier this month saying that Nestdrop -- which offers alcohol and medical marijuana delivery -- violates a law that restricts pot shops in Los Angeles from taking their product to customers.

Judge Robert O'Brien granted a preliminary injunction against the company Tuesday morning to stop the pot deliveries.

Nestdrop co-founder Michael Pycher said the company would appeal the judge’s decision and would continue its alcohol delivery service.

“We don’t believe that they truly understand what Nestdrop is -- we’re simply a communication technology,” Pycher said in an interview Tuesday.

Nestdrop launched in Los Angeles earlier this year, marketing itself as the first app-based, on-demand medical marijuana delivery service in the country.

Feuer says Nestdrop’s service violates Proposition D, a citywide measure passed by voters last year to regulate pot shops with the aim of reducing their number in the city. Under that law, delivery is “simply not permitted,” Feuer said.

But Pycher said the company is not subject to Prop. D regulations because it doesn’t handle or distribute the marijuana itself. The app connects patients to collectives, whose workers deliver the marijuana, he said.

Feuer says that amounts to aiding and abetting illegal activity, an argument with which the judge agreed as he granted the injunction Tuesday.

Aaron Lachant, an attorney whose firm helped city officials write Prop. D, said he wasn’t surprised by Tuesday’s ruling. “Prop. D explicitly prohibits delivery service,” he said. He said that though the app itself may not necessarily be illegal, “Nestdrop was basically facilitating violations of Prop. D.”

Hundreds of marijuana delivery services exist across Southern California.

Lachant said the city attorney may have decided to target Nestdrop because it would be much harder to go after each individual delivery service.

When asked Tuesday about other marijuana delivery services in the city, Feuer said his office had other investigations underway.

As for Nestdrop, Pycher said the company will continue with plans to expand to other cities. He said the app has tens of thousands of users and that the legal action had actually drawn attention to the company. The company is beta-testing the app in San Francisco, he said, and has plans to expand to San Jose and Oakland soon.

Follow @skarlamangla on Twitter for more L.A. politics news

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

12:40 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout with additional details and background.

This article was originally published at 11:30 a.m.

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