By Edwin Folven, 8/29/2013
Officials looking into potential move by pot collective
Speculation that a medical marijuana dispensary may be opening soon on Larchmont Boulevard is sparking outrage in the community.
Joane Pickett, owner of Pickett Fences, said she began hearing word a couple of weeks ago about a dispensary opening at 215 N. Larchmont Blvd., across the street from her store. Pickett said she has heard the dispensary planning to open is called Cantodiem Dispensing Collective, which formerly operated at 5419 Sunset Blvd. She said many people are upset about the prospect of having a dispensary in the neighborhood, and she is currently organizing opposition.
“As a parent, a resident and a business owner in the neighborhood, I am adamantly opposed to this being on the street. It doesn’t seem appropriate for a tiny street like Larchmont,” Pickett said. “Because Larchmont is a neighborhood street, not a busy commercial corridor, people with kids feel like they can give them a touch of freedom. There is no upside for Larchmont for a business like this.”
Tom Kneafsey, president of the Larchmont Business Improvement District, identified the owner of 215 N. Larchmont Blvd. as Frank Fox. Attempts to reach Fox were unsuccessful. The phone number for Cantodiem Dispensing Collective is disconnected, and the building is vacant.
The dispensary is on the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office’s list of dispensaries that registered with the city prior to the 2007 moratorium, and therefore could receive immunity from prosecution by the city under Measure D, a law regulating dispensaries in Los Angeles that was approved by voters in May. Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office spokesman Frank Mateljan said a deadline of Dec. 17 has been set for dispensaries to change locations and remain on the list. The dispensaries must be located 1,000 feet away from schools and 600 feet away from sensitive uses such as parks, libraries and community centers. Mateljan said the city attorney’s office is investigating the claims that Cantodiem is planning to move to Larchmont; however, authorities have not yet been able to confirm the move. Officials are also examining whether the location at 215 N. Larchmont Blvd., which is next to the Hamburger Hamlet Xpress and the Alternative Apparel clothing shop, would be a suitable location for a dispensary under Measure D. The dispensary would reportedly be located in one of the building’s second-story units.
“This office cannot discuss cases that are or potentially could be under investigation,” Mateljan said. “The city attorney is deeply concerned with public safety and preserving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. If there are any violations of the law, or evidence of nuisance activity at the property, we will take appropriate legal action.”
Medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and federal authorities have vowed to crack down on dispensaries throughout the city.
Capt. Eric Davis, commanding officer for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division, said he has heard about the move and is looking into the matter.
“We have heard complaints,” Davis said. “There are a lot of concerns about medical marijuana clinics near residences. We are looking at it right now.”
City Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District, added that he opposes having a medical marijuana dispensary on Larchmont Boulevard.
“I am extremely concerned, and I am hoping they will decide not to locate on that street,” LaBonge said. “Larchmont is different than most commercial streets. It’s more of a ‘Main Street’ in the way you think of it. I’m going to do my best to help alleviate the concerns.”
Kneafsey, who is also a member of the Larchmont Boulevard Association, said a medical marijuana dispensary would not be welcome on the boulevard.
“It’s not a use that is consistent with that location. We don’t see it as the type of tenant the street wants,” Kneafsey said. “This is a very family oriented neighborhood.”
Picket said an informal meeting to discuss opposition strategies is planned for Thursday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. in the gym at St. Brendan School, 238 S. Manhattan Place.