Los Angeles Officials Have New Target in Smartphone App Wars: Marijuana Delivery

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Los Angeles City Hall trekandshoot / Shutterstock.com

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Fresh off a battle over an on-street parking-space auction app, the city is suing a new medical cannabis delivery service.

Earlier this fall, Los Angeles City Council members took swift legislative action to quash MonkeyParking, a new smartphone app that auctions off on-street parking spaces to the highest bidder.

"This is extortion masquerading as the sharing economy," Councilmember Mike Bonin, who leads the council's Transportation Committee, said in a statement in October. "The idea that individuals could personally profit from seizing and selling public parking spaces is just wrong and we're taking action to stop these parking pimps.”

On Monday, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced a lawsuit against Nestdrop, a smartphone app that started medical marijuana delivery a month ago. Feuer contends that the service, which also delivers alcohol, violates the city’s medical marijuana initiative.

"There is no lawful delivery service under Prop. D," Feuer said, according to L.A. Weekly. "We're hoping that a court agrees with us."

As the Los Angeles Business Journal reports:

The complaint alleges the company and co-founders Michael Pycher, Roddy Radnia and Adam Larson violated Prop D by facilitating the prohibited delivery of marijuana. It also said Prop D’s limited exceptions allowing transportation of marijuana in a vehicle don’t apply to Nestdrop, because the delivery persons are neither qualified patients transporting medical marijuana for their own personal use, nor are they primary caregivers transporting the drug to patients for whose housing, health and safety the deliverers have consistently assumed responsibility.

Nestdrop responded in a Facebook post:

As we’ve said from the beginning, Nestdrop is not a dispensary, collective, grower or even a delivery service. Nestdrop is the technology platform that connects law abiding medical marijuana patients with local dispensaries to receive the medication that they need in a safe and secure manner. Our goal is to make access to this legal medicine convenient for patients who truly need it – especially as many of these suffering patients may have limited mobility and may be unable to visit a dispensary unassisted – and don’t understand why the city is trying to restrict their access to the important medicine. We are saddened by the City Attorney's recent attempt to restrict patient’s access to their legal medicine and intend to fight this. Those patients are who it's meant for in the first place. We appreciate the support of our Los Angeles community.

Also this week, Bonin announced that he was joining forces with Councilmember Herb Wesson to institute new rules to better regulate short-term housing rental services like Airbnb.

“We need a regulatory model that will put neighborhoods first while paving the way for short-term rentals to thrive in an appropriate fashion in Los Angeles,” Bonin said in a statement.

(Image by trekandshoot / Shutterstock.com)