Proposition D was passed by Los Angeles voters in 2013. It restricts the number of approved L.A. medical marijuana shops to about 140.
With an estimated 1,500+ weed shops operating in
Los Angeles, which are legal?
So which are legit?
The L.A. Office of Finance, together with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, recently released a map (link) of ‘recognized medical marijuana shops‘ currently operating within the city limits. The map includes 139 weed shops have been granted limited legal immunity from prosecution by the voter approved initiative Prop D.
Prop D grants more than 130 medical marijuana ‘dispensaries’, the right to obtain the all important L.A. business tax registration certificates (BTRCs). BTRC certificates are intended to shield marijuana shops from prosecution.
So why does the state controller’s own map indicate that more than 750 marijuana retailers continue to use BTRCs as permits to operate, even though the majority are non-compliant with Proposition D? Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a clear answer. The LA Weekly, one of the city’s largest print news organizations, has been trying to find the answer for some time now (months/years). Despite numerous requests, the city attorney’s office and the Office of Controller has been largely quiet on the matter. That is, until now…
“Unfortunately, with regulation right at our doorstep, we’ve had very spotty compliance with current regulations and not enough enforcement…”
– City Controller Ron Galperin to the LA Weekly
n fact, Galperin sent a letter to the L.A. City Council detailing how – with better regulation, oversight and enforcement – the city might add millions in additional marijuana tax revenue in 2018. In addition, Galperin recommended legalizing marijuana delivery service in the city (currently outlawed by Prop D).,
To add to the confusion, last March voters approved Measure M, which supersedes Prop D and could double the number of permitted marijuana shops in L.A. Measure M also provides a legitimate roadmap toward licensing marijuana cultivation, production, delivery and recreational sales. The measure authorizes new enforcement tools the city can leverage to enforce regulations; tools such as fines, criminal penalties, and authorization to shut off power and water to those business operating without proper licensing.City Council President Herb Wesson (yep, Herb) was quoted as saying:
“Los Angeles is leading the country and world in responsible and inclusive approaches to legalization. The passing of Proposition M is a great victory for common sense, law enforcement and all Angelenos.”
Currently, more than a thousand L.A. area marijuana shops continue to operate under the legal radar – without oversight or proper authority to sell marijuana to the public. The City Attorney’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department are expected to work together in the coming months (and years) to shutter these criminal enterprises.
Until such time, legal marijuana retailers are likely to struggle to compete with these illegal and unregulated businesses – stalling the future possibilities for the industry to mature state-wide.