January 20, 2010

The Deathblow to LA Dispensaries??

January 20, 2010

It is official, the city of Los Angeles has passed an ordinance that would reduce the number of dispensaries from over 1,000 down to 70 (see attached article). In addition to a 1,000ft buffer zone, other restrictions include; ‘forbidden from operating for profit, requires them to pay employees “reasonable wages and benefits” and rules out bonuses. It requires them to maintain extensive records and to submit an annual accountant-verified audit. It prohibits operators from running more than one dispensary. And it allows people buying marijuana to join only one collective.’ This is quite a change from the free for all that has been ensuing for the past 5 or 6 years. The question I have is ‘Will this be a new trend in America?’ The only other area that has as many dispensaries as LA is Denver, and there are no proposed ordinances there that I can see. However, Evans, CO enacted an outright ban on dispensaries today, could Denver be next? I predict that once people see the lingering effects of the LA ordinance, they will demand it in their area too.

Should dispensaries be able to operate unimpeded? Are the current rules in LA the ‘best option?’ From what I can tell, there is still a loophole for people to take advantage of. The dispensaries are not allowed to push a profit, but the people growing the marijuana and taking it to the dispensaries are still going to get paid. Considering the growers and dispensary owners are closely tied, if not the same person, it will be difficult to regulate. An interesting statistic put forth by the LA PD is that to monitor 70 dispensaries it would take $1.3 million, a lieutenant, 11 detectives, an auditor, and a clerk to do the job. I don’t have a law enforcement background, but it seems to me that the easiest way to regulate and monitor these facilities is looking at the books. Is 1 auditor enough? Is 11 detectives too much? And for that matter, how does it cost $1.3 million to pay 14 people!



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