Emily Alpert ReyesContact Reporter
California is days from allowing shops to sell recreational pot to paying customers, legalizing a hotly anticipated industry.
But Jerred Kiloh says that when the New Year rolls around, the doors of his medical marijuana dispensary might be closed, in order to avoid breaking the law.
“I’ve been fighting for this day forever,” said Kiloh, president of the United Cannabis Business Assn. He operates a Sherman Oaks dispensary that has the tranquil vibe of a salon, with artwork of David Bowie and Buddha overlooking his budtenders, herbal tea set out for patients, and a Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce plaque on the wall.
“But I’d hate to thumb my nose at the state,” Kiloh said.
The messy and complicated details of marijuana legalization in California have left some Los Angeles pot businesses uneasy about how to follow the new law. To sell cannabis commercially starting in January — whether for medical or recreational use — a pot shop must have a state license. And to get a state license, it needs to have local approval.
Kiloh could get that very soon: Los Angeles is planning to start licensing pot retailers in the coming weeks. Existing shops that have been providing medical marijuana in line with an earlier set of city rules, approved by voters under Proposition D, are supposed to be first in line for those licenses and can start applying Wednesday.
And L.A. says those existing shops can avoid city prosecution while they are applying.
“Los Angeles will operate with flexibility while state and local laws synchronize,” Vanessa Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for City Council President Herb Wesson, said in a statement.
But some attorneys have warned that without an actual license in hand, it would still violate state law for such businesses to keep providing medical marijuana to patients in January.
So Kiloh says he might end up shutting the doors of his shop until he has gotten both city and state approval, a decision that he says could be “suicide.” He fears losing both employees and customers while his dispensary is closed.
Read more here.
Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.