The City of Long Beach has closed Green Nurse Collective, a smoke shop operating on Broadway that also served as a marijuana dispensary, according to City Manager Pat West, who responded "Yes" when asked if the closure is indicative of a concentrated effort by the City to crack down on dispensaries.
"We are being extremely aggressive in targeting retailers that have a legitimate business license and then choose to add a new product that is not part of the business license," West said in a phone interview today.
"That gives us an opportunity to close the business and fine them if they reopen."
West said that many more dispensaries will be closed in the coming days and weeks, and that the process to close several businesses has already begun. The issue with GNC is that the business license in place was violated when the store decided to add marijuana to its list of products. West said the City learned of the violation when the business placed an advertisement in a local newspaper. The issue of dispensaries operating as "for-profit" businesses is separate, he said, and is being dealt with by the Long Beach Police Department. In the meantime, the City is moving forward with closing dispensaries that operate without business licenses to do so.
"Every one that's out there does not have a business license," West said.
The issue of allowing marijuana dispensaries to operate within Long Beach limits has caused a frenzy since the LBPOST.com publication of an op-ed article from City Prosecutor Tom Reeves, in which he directly compared dispensaries to drug dealers and disputed the notion of the businesses as caregivers.
LBPOST.com columnist Greggory Moore wrote a follow-up rebuttal to Reeves' op-ed that cited examples of lawsuits and legislation in favor of the legality of marijuana dispensaries. The debate rages on in the Comments section of this column, written last week by LBPOST.com columnist John Greet.
At last week's monthly Beer & Politics public forum, Reeves debated alongside Moore and issued a warning to dispensaries currently operating in the city. "Stop," Reeves said. "Get off that train. Bad things are coming."
In other kush-related news, Councilmember Gerrie Schipske has announced that she will host a community town hall meeting to discuss the issue of marijuana collectives operating in the city. The meeting will be held Thursday, November 12, at 6:30pm at the El Dorado Community Center on 2800 Studebaker Road. The following statement is from a Schipske press release:
"I have invited City Prosecutor, Tom Reeves and Deputy Police Chief, Blair to attend the meeting and to listen to the concerns of residents who do not want these facilities in our city. Please note that because the City of Long Beach does not regulate facilities dispensing marijuana for medical purposes, I do not receive any type of notice when they open. I am relying upon residents to let me know so that I can refer them to the Police Department. Come to the Town Hall on November 12 and let your opinion be heard."
Disclosure: The LBPOST.com has sponsorship relationships with medical marijuana dispensaries.