When Jay Smoker and I started this blog in 2010, there were ‘more medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles than Starbucks locations.’ For some reason back then, the media loved to measure the number of dispensaries in an area against the number of Starbucks locations. I guess it puts it into perspective for Starbucks consumers or something. Anyhow, since 2010, there has been a crusade against medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles.
Hundreds have been closed, but for everyone that is closed, it seems that another is opened, or the ‘closed’ dispensary just moves to a new location. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has launched a crusade on illegal dispensaries, announcing this month that his office has shuttered more than 500 cannabis businesses in roughly two years.
“It’s 514 now,” Rob Wilcox, Feuer’s director of community outreach and engagement, said on Monday. “It’s tremendous progress … you’ll see less and less of them week by week.”
Feuer’s agency estimates there’s only “a few hundred” left that the city needs to shut down until only the 135 allowed by law remain operating under the requirements of Proposition D, the regulatory ballot measure city voters approved two years ago.
But those in the city’s MMJ industry tell a different story.
“He said he closed 500 dispensaries, but he doesn’t say a word about the 600 that opened after that,” said Yamileth Bolanos, who runs PureLife Alternative Wellness Center, which qualifies to stay open under the 2013 law.
At this point closing dispensaries in Los Angeles is largely a game of whack-a-mole. There’s simply no way that the City of Los Angeles can shutdown these medical marijuana dispensaries for good. Los Angeles has a lot of medical marijuana patients, and limiting the number of safe access points to 135 is unreasonable. I know that Proposition D passed, but it seems to be largely symbolic at this point.