Four years ago, when the Los Angeles City Council started to wrestle with how to control medical marijuana, there were just four known storefront dispensaries. Now, says the Los Angeles Times, police say there are as many as 600. There may be more. No one really knows. The exponential rise came despite a 2007 moratorium that was supposed to prohibit new dispensaries from opening. An exception was made for 186 that were already in business and registered with the city.
“The city of L.A. has failed us on this issue,” said Michael Larsen of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council. “There’s a huge loophole. L.A. city’s not watching. L.A. city’s not enforcing.” No other city in California has seen such uncontrolled growth in dispensaries. As signs featuring the easily recognized saw-toothed cannabis leaf multiplied on commercial strips, neighborhood activists began to ask their council members why the city was not shutting down dispensaries that opened after the moratorium.