updated 8/26/2010 8:43:39 PM ET 2010-08-27T00:43:39

The Los Angeles city attorney has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to back up the city's move to shut down 129 medical marijuana shops under a new ordinance.

City attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan says the case was filed Thursday.

The city clerk determined only 41 pot shops comply with the ordinance, which requires dispensaries to be 1,000 feet from schools, parks and other gathering sites. Owners also must undergo a background check and their pot must be tested at an independent lab.

The suit asks a judge to determine that the city's strict process in interpreting the law was appropriate. The city said it won't seek to close any clinics before a ruling.

Nearly 30 lawsuits have already been filed challenging the procedure the city council adopted Jan. 26 to limit the number of dispensaries. Owners must undergo a background check, their stores must be 1,000 feet from schools, parks and other gathering sites, and their pot must be tested at an independent laboratory.

Most of the dispensaries that have sued are among more than 400 ordered to shut down.

Hundreds of dispensaries appeared across the city when officials failed to enforce a 2007 moratorium on medical pot clinics.

When the city council passed the January ordinance, it estimated that about 130 dispensaries might qualify to stay open. Under that law, if the number of eligible dispensaries dropped below 70, additional clinics would be chosen in a lottery. The total number of dispensaries in the city would then be capped at 70.

City officials said 170 dispensaries applied to be allowed to remain open, but 129 failed to meet the criteria. The city clerk's office mailed letters Wednesday to each dispensary notifying it of its status and also posted the list on the office's website.

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