Los Angeles could, and probably should, be thestoner mecca for the United States. The city has the biggest population of any weed-legal municipality in the world.

And yet, legal cannabis is still relatively scarce.

The city proper has more than 4 million residents, and for all those cannabis users, there are only 189 licensed pot shops to serve them. Leaflypoints out that, in comparison, Denver has 518 licensed cannabis stores for its population of only 620,000.

That’s why the black market is still thriving big time in LA, including some illegal vendors who sell toxic vaping products.

As a result of bureaucratic blockage in the city’s licensing process, experts predict that the city will only increase to around 300 legal pot shops by the end of 2020.

In addition, potential new changes to city regulations could slow down licensing even more before things start to open up.

LA City Council President Herb Wesson has asked for a reboot of the city’s licensing laws. In a letterdated October 28, Wesson officially requested that Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) head Cat Packer to audit and re-do the city’s licensing rules.

The problem, according to Wesson, is that the current licensing system is unfair, allowing some parties early access to the online application. If his plan goes forward, all applications for licenses would be suspended, the money returned to the applicants, and a full audit and report of the system would be conducted by a third party. 

For their part, the DCR denies the claims of unfairness in their process, and told Leafly, “The Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) is committed to the most fair and transparent process possible. We’ll be meeting with the Council President’s Office soon to discuss their recommendations.”

Photo via Flickr/Dank Depot