Can Los Angeles Successfully Ban Storefront Marijuana Providers?


Los Angeles, with 762 documented marijuana dispensaries and scores more thought to be operating under the radar, has approved an outright ban on storefront marijuana providers, says the Sacramento Bee. The city also enacted a controversial plan for medical marijuana users to grow their own pot. Many question whether Los Angeles, where Snoop Dogg blazes a fatty joint in ads for “free bong hits” and City Compassionate Caregivers near downtown invites patrons to “medicate” in its 3-7 p.m. “happy hour” – has figured out how to control its marijuana landscape. While hundreds of dispensaries have closed elsewhere in California amid local crackdowns, federal raids and threats of prosecution, Los Angeles flutters in an alternative cannabis universe. The city has become the morality play for medical marijuana and a failure of city regulation.

It has lost key court rulings in favor of dispensaries and in some cases failed to enforce local standards that withstood legal challenges. Some of Los Angeles’ oldest and most reputable cannabis establishments blame city leaders for the chaos. “Six years ago when we yelled and screamed for regulation, they didn’t have the stomach for it,” said Yamileth Bolanos, a cancer survivor who runs the Pure Life Alternative Wellness dispensary. “And now because they didn’t do anything, every greedy (expletive) and their mama came to L.A.” to open dispensaries. “Maybe the city wanted it to get so out of control that they had to ban it,” Bolanos said. “Maybe that was the evil plan to begin with.”

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