Thursday, June 19, 2014

Los Angeles Dispensaries Dodging Ban

By David Downs
Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM

San Jose, pay attention. You can't just wave a magic wand and make a vital, popular industry go quietly into the night.  

Los Angeles’s 972-odd dispensaries are dodging city efforts to shut them down, partially thanks to a disconnect between police and the city finance department, new reports show.

Last year, LA voters approved Measure D, which regulates dispensaries in the world’s largest medical marijuana city and caps their number at roughly 135 club that were operating before a 2007 cut-off.

The Los Angeles Police Department has been using beat cops to locate and order the closure of clubs that are ineligible to operate under Measure D. But the clubs just move around and re-open. Meanwhile, the city’s Finance Department keeps giving pot shops business tax registration certificates.

In fact, the LA Finance Dept has a list of 972 medical marijuana dispensaries registered to pay taxes. Monday, the LA City Council ordered that information shared with police. Council plans to post the list online, and recommended crowd-sourcing the reporting of pot shops.

Los Angeles has collected $2.1 million in taxes from dispensaries since the 2014 business tax registration certificate renewal period started, and $10.2 million since medical cannabis taxes started being collected, according to reports.

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