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More Weed (Shops) Grow in Los Angeles

Posted by: Stacy Perman on September 11, 2009

Back in June, I wrote about the explosive growth of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. What happened is the following: a legal loophole intended to limit the number of these storefront pot shops unintentionally led to surge in new ones. In 2007, the city, hoping to curb the further spread of new shops allowed for a “hardship exemption” for those outfits already doing potleaf.jpgbusiness. The upshot was that in 2005 there were just four medical marijuana stores – however, by last summer 500 new applications were made by operators under the exemption status. Alarmed, the city council moved to shut the loophole down.

Rather than freezing growth, however, the move actually pushed pot entrepreneurs to quickly file applications in order to reserve their licenses (law enforcement could not shut them down while their applications were pending). Currently, there are now about 966 medical marijuana dispensaries registered in LA and the Los Angeles Times is calling this the city’s “latest retail craze.”

The paper has plotted out a map of the city’s burgeoning cottage industry that has revealed some interesting findings. For starters there are 58 applications registered on one street alone. Furthermore, although a proposed city ordinance would prohibit these growing weed shops from operating within 1,000 feet of a school, library, or park, if you look at the map, the LAT’s found tha at least 260 of those applications on file have addresses listed that would land them smack in the middle of one of these no-go areas. Apparently the review process is moving at a snail’s pace while savvy LA entrepreneurship is not.

In a city in a state with a gaping budget shortfall and some of the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates – it seems this situation is one that might give new heft to the perennially controversial debate over legalizing marijuana and its potential role as a way to generate new tax revenue…Then again it could all simply go up in smoke.

photo credit: Getty Images

Reader Comments

gabe, san diego

September 11, 2009 5:08 PM

Weed is a gateway drug. also, would you let your kid on a school bus driven by a high driver? how about getting on the plane with high pilot?

tom h.

September 11, 2009 9:44 PM

@Gabe: Yes drivers, pilots, etc. should stick to the old-fashioned way with booze and prescription drugs.


September 13, 2009 1:28 PM

Weed helps people in pain, needs to be legalized, I know I wouldn't function drinking to get rid of the pain. Alcohol is way worse the smoking weed. If you raise your children to know not to do drugs, they understand a lot more than you can imagine. The gateway drug as you call it, well these kids are trying heavier drugs than weed for the first time.


September 14, 2009 2:13 AM

Driving under the influence of marijuana IS a criminal offense and is treated as such. The school bus driver would find himself out of work pretty fast. Also employers are allowed to screen for marijuana use regardless of a patients medical status.


September 14, 2009 4:32 PM

The same people who complain about marijuana are the same people buying up all the liquor in the liquor store. Marijuana is no more of a gateway drug then alcohol which kills people everyday by the way. If a school bus driver was driving around kids while high of course that wouldnt be cool just like driving drunk wouldnt be but how many people really get into accidents after smoking pot? What you do on your own time is your buisness as long as it doesnt affect your job no matter if its pot or a legal drug such as alcohol.


September 15, 2009 1:08 PM

Legalize all drugs, tax all drugs, and buy stock in mortuary chains. Let 'em stone themselves to death so the rest of us can save on the tax money needed to imprison them. We've tried saving them from themselves and it doesn't work. Take the profit out of it and watch the immigration dry right up.

D from LA

September 17, 2009 12:47 AM

I've seen the growth. As a patient, I would hate to see a tax, but If it helps the economy I'm all for it. Weed(Cannibus) has strict and rules with operating a moving vehicle,or better yet showing up high to work. Opposed to other popular prescription pills, Weed never killed no one. Other drugs found at Local pharmacies, found on every blocks world wide, are the real dealers/killers of this town.
Much Love & Peace!

Ca$h t

September 24, 2009 8:19 AM

Cool beans


October 9, 2009 2:09 PM

MJ is a section 1 federal substance - yet Oxycontin has taken more of my friends than alcohol and cocaine combine and it's not even listed. Common sense is not common place.


March 2, 2010 11:49 PM

gabe, the rules still apply for marijuana as they do with beer - no we don't want people driving and pilots flying high.

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