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City attorney files lawsuit to block Mar Vista pot shop

After an outcry from Mar Vista residents and a strongly worded warning from Councilman Mike Bonin, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office has filed a lawsuit against a proposed medical marijuana dispensary before it was slated to begin operations.

The planned dispensary was to open at 3472 S. Centinela Ave. – a commercially zoned space formerly home to a Mrs. Gooch's market. But the plot is surrounded by houses and apartments on land zoned for residential use.

Both Bonin and Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer said that opening a pot shop there would violate Proposition D, which voters passed last spring to limit the number of dispensaries and forbid them from operating near homes, schools or parks.

In a statement announcing the civil enforcement action, Feuer said, “My office is working diligently to uphold the will of the voters in passing Proposition D in May, and we are collaborating with the Los Angeles Police Department and Building and Safety to aggressively enforce the law.”

At a community meeting in October, residents demanded that city officials keep the dispensary out of their neighborhood. Though many said they did not oppose medical marijuana, they warned of traffic effects, drug users, robbers and drops in the price of real estate.

In a letter sent to the marijuana dispensary operator in October, Bonin said opening such a store would be a “slap in the face to residents” and warned the operator to “drop your plans, or meet stiff opposition.”

Feuer’s office filed the complaint Thursday, asking the court to block the business from opening and assess fines on operators each day they are found to be in violation of the law.

More than 50 criminal cases have already been filed against pot dispensary operators and property owners throughout Los Angeles, Feuer’s office said in its statement.


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