Los Angeles prosecutors began notifying 439 medical marijuana dispensaries yesterday that they must shut down by June 7, when the city’s ordinance to regulate the stores takes effect, the Los Angeles Times reports. It’s the first step in what could be a lengthy and expensive legal battle to regain control over pot sales.
City letters warn that violations of the laws are a misdemeanor and could lead to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Collectives that stay open after the deadline could also face civil penalties of $2,500 a day. Los Angeles became the epicenter of the state’s dispensary boom last year after the Obama administration’s announcement that it would not prosecute medical marijuana stores that adhered to state law. Although the city had a moratorium on new dispensaries, it failed to enforce the ban and hundreds opened with no oversight, triggering complaints from neighborhood activists.