City of Los Angeles
Medical Marijuana Interim Control Ordinance (ICO)
Frequently Asked Questions
UPDATED: July 20, 2009

1. What is the Medical Marijuana ICO?

The Medical Marijuana Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) is the City of Los Angeles’ temporary moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries. It became law on September 14, 2007 under Ordinance # 179027, and was amended on June 24, 2009 under Ordinance # 180749. Under the ICO, no new dispensaries are allowed to open in the City, and only previously existing dispensaries are allowed to operate. The previously existing dispensaries were required to register with the City Clerk before a deadline of 5 p.m. on November 13, 2007, by submitting copies of the dispensary’s City business tax registration certificate, State seller’s permit, business insurance, property lease, dispensary membership form and, if needed, County health permit. The ICO is intended to control the proliferation of dispensaries while the City develops permanent regulations for medical marijuana uses.

2. If I registered my dispensary before the November 13, 2007 deadline, am I allowed to operate?

Yes, the ICO allows dispensaries that registered before the deadline to continue to operate, subject to continued compliance with stipulated conditions and maintenance of required documentation.

3. If I did not register my dispensary before the deadline, am I allowed to operate?

No; unless you are approved for a hardship exemption (see #5 below), you are not allowed to operate a medical marijuana dispensary.

4. If I registered my dispensary before the deadline, can I move to a new location?

No; unless you are approved for a hardship exemption (see #5 below), you are not allowed to operate at a new location. As a land use moratorium, the ICO does not allow changes of use that introduce the prohibited use to a new location.

5. What is a hardship exemption, and can I apply for one?

As of June 24, 2009, hardship exemption applications are no longer being accepted, per Ordinance #180749. Hardship exemption requests that have already been filed prior to 06/24/09 can be approved, denied, or not acted upon by the City Council. If the City Council decides to consider the request, there will be a public hearing on the matter. The purpose of hardship exemptions is to allow exceptions from the ICO “in cases of hardship duly established to the satisfaction of the City Council.”

6. Can I continue to operate my dispensary while I am waiting for the City Council to act on my request for a hardship exemption?

No, the mere filing of a request for a hardship exemption does not authorize the operation of a dispensary that had not registered with the City Clerk by November 13, 2007.

7. If I registered my dispensary, can I sell or transfer it to someone else?

As long as the dispensary’s location is not changing, the ICO does not prohibit ownership changes for registered dispensaries, and there is no filing required with the City Clerk or with the Department of City Planning to accomplish an ownership change. However, it is strongly recommended that you check with the City’s Office of Finance ahead of time, to determine whether the existing business tax registration certificate can be transferred to the new business owner(s).

8. When will the ICO expire, and what will the new regulations entail?

The amended ICO will expire on March 15, 2010. Before this date, the City intends to have new permanent regulations in place to govern medical marijuana. The City Council will review and discuss the matter in public hearing(s) prior to adopting any new regulations.

9. A dispensary just opened down the street and I don’t think it’s legal. Can I report it?

Yes. Call 311 and ask for Building & Safety Code Enforcement.

City of Los Angeles Planning Department
July 2009

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