“We are shutting down unlawful dispensaries at a rapidly increasing pace,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a recent LA Times article. A crackdown by Feuer and the city has shut down over 500 dispensaries over the last two years in Los Angeles. There are no hard statistics on the number of dispensaries in Los Angeles, but the city is widely considered to have more collectives than any other metropolitan area in the U.S.
That means the city government has been awful busy with this crackdown in the last year, as Feuer reported in 2014 that the city had only shut down about 100 collectives. In addition to dispensaries, the city has shut down other means of medicinal distribution including a weed farmers market in Boyle Heights and a delivery phone app.
LA dispensaries are supposed to be capped off at about 130, according to a ballot passed by city residents in 2013. Lawful dispensaries are also required to obey certain regulations such as keeping away from schools and turning off their signs at night. “There are a whole bunch of different vehicles that we pursued to close them,” said Feuer. Among the city’s legal tactics in closing area collectives are pursuing criminal and civil allegations, and warning letters.
Interestingly, Feuer also claims that the number of residential complaints over dispensaries have decreased over the last two years, and the Reuters article quoting him as such makes it seem as if that was absolutely the result of the city-wide crackdown. But despite the number of shut downs the city can claim, there is no evidence to say that there are actually fewer dispensaries than there were two years ago. The city has no hard stats on the number of dispensaries in the area (though it lists 1,100 as tax-paying businesses, so they’ll take their money).
There might actually be more collectives now than there were two years ago. Anyone who lives in LA will not notice a lack of collectives in the city. So, is it possible that residents aren’t complaining less because there are fewer collectives to complain about, but that residents have gotten used to the collectives and don’t care to complain anymore?