Politics

City Hall still unclear on how many medical marijuana clinics operate in Los Angeles

A report to the Budget and Finance Committee shows Los Angeles is still struggling with the regulation of pot shops.
A report to the Budget and Finance Committee shows Los Angeles is still struggling with the regulation of pot shops.
Photo by WehoCity via Flickr Creative Commons

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When Los Angeles voters approved Proposition D last year, they believed they were capping the number of legal medical marijuana shops in the city. However, a report to the Budget and Finance Committee on Monday showed hundreds of illegal dispensaries remain in operation. 

Under Proposition D, there should be 134 pot shops in operation. Yet, 972  shops are in possession of a business tax certificate. 

"It's been a frustration for the council and the public to not be able to answer this basic question: How many marijuana dispensaries are there in the city of Los Angeles? No one knows," said Councilman Paul Krekorian. 

Los Angeles police officers are tracking the number of clinics in their patrol areas but they can't keep up with the number of illegal operations popping up throughout the city, said Capt. Anne Clark, head of the LAPD's Gangs and Narcotics Division.

At the same time, the Office of Finance has addresses and names for the 972 shops that have business tax certificates. 

"We have a significant disconnect here," Krekorian said. 

Committee members asked the Office of Finance to share its list with the City Attorney's Office and LAPD. They also suggested the city look into crowd-sourcing techniques to track the dispensaries.